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Ofcom starts second phase of local TV licensing

June 19, 2013

Ofcom today begins the second phase of local TV licensing, inviting applications for new channels in seven locations across the UK.

Following the award of 19 licences in the first phase1, Ofcom is now opening up applications for local TV channels in Bangor, Cambridge, Middlesbrough, Mold, Scarborough, Swansea and York. These are the initial locations in the second phase of licensing.

The invitation follows legislation enabling Ofcom to issue local TV licences. In January 2013 Ofcom awarded a licence to Comux UK to operate the local TV ‘multiplex’, providing the transmission for every local TV station on digital terrestrial TV (DTT).

Second phase locations

Earlier this year, Ofcom invited expressions of interest for 30 locations, and received 94 expressions of interest from 40 different organisations.

Following the high level of interest, Ofcom intends to advertise the remaining phase 2 locations over the course of the next year2. Licensing the channels in stages will minimise the length of time between applications being submitted and licence awards being made.

The closing date for applications for Bangor, Cambridge, Middlesbrough, Mold, Scarborough, Swansea and York is 11 September 2013. It is possible that there may be channels in phase two locations on air by the end of 2014.

As well as broadcasting on DTT, it is anticipated that local TV channels might also wish to offer their services on satellite, cable and online.

Invitations to apply can be found here.

Ofcom is also consulting on merging four separate locations, which have not yet been advertised, to create two single licences. The areas are Tonbridge and Maidstone, and Hereford and Gloucester. The consultation closes on 17 July 2013 and is available here.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1.As part of the first phase, Ofcom licensed the following local TV channels:

Belfast: NvTv Grimsby: Lincolnshire Living Nottingham: Notts TV
Birmingham: City TV Broadcasting London: London Live Oxford: That’s Oxford
Brighton & Hove: Latest TV Leeds: Made in Leeds Preston: YourTV Blackpool & Preston
Bristol: Made in Bristol Liverpool: Bay TV Liverpool Sheffield: SLTV/Sheffield Live
Cardiff: Made in Cardiff Manchester: YourTV Manchester Southampton: That’s Solent
Edinburgh: ETV Newcastle: Made in Tyne and Wear
Glasgow: GTV Norwich: Mustard

It is anticipated that some channels in the first phase may be on air by the end of 2013.

2. The further 23 locations to be advertised over the next year are below. We expect to begin the licensing process for the next batch of phase two locations in the autumn.

Aberdeen Dundee Malvern
Ayr Guildford Plymouth
Barnstaple Hereford Reading
Basingstoke Inverness Salisbury
Bedford Kidderminster Stoke on Trent
Bromsgrove Limavady Stratford upon Avon
Carlisle Luton Tonbridge
Derry/Londonderry Maidstone

3. Ofcom has provided technical assistance for local TV coverage planning and is overseeing the licensing of local TV services. This follows the Government’s policy statement in December 2011.

4. Digital UK, the organisation responsible for the management and allocation of channel numbers on DTT, has reserved channel numbers for new public service local TV channels. These will be carried at channel 8 (England and Northern Ireland) and channel 45 (Wales and Scotland).

5. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications, wireless communications and postal services.

6. For further information about Ofcom please visit: www.ofcom.org.uk. Ofcom’s news releases can be found at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/.

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