Media regulator Ofcom has advertised its licence for a second national Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio multiplex. As well as broadcasting a number of national radio services, the licence holder will also be able to deliver a range of innovative interactive and multimedia services, including mobile television, using the DAB spectrum.
Ofcom will follow today's national multiplex advertisement with a regional DAB multiplex rollout, advertising a regional DAB multiplex each month for the next 12 months in a move that will take DAB to every part of the UK.
Ofcom said the national multiplex licence award will be made under the Broadcasting Act 1996 which requires Ofcom to consider how each applicant would promote the development of DAB radio in the UK.
Earlier this week GCap, which owns a majority stake in the existing national multiplex, Digital One, confirmed it would take minority position alongside BT and Arqiva in a bid for the second licence, which will last 12 years. Channel 4 has long declared its intention to bid, and National Grid Wireless recently said it planned take part in the contest.
Ofcom said the exact coverage of new services would be determined "by the location of the successful applicant's transmission sites and other technical characteristics". Due to international frequency agreements some coastal areas in southern and south-eastern England, as well as parts of Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of west Wales, will not be able to receive services initially. Applicants have until March 28, 2007, to submit bids.
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