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Saturday, 8th May 2004
OFCOM ruling could set precedent for data over sound on DAB

National DAB digital radio multiplex operator Digital One has been given the go-ahead by OFCOM, the commercial radio regulator, to broadcast data services using spare capacity on the multiplex.

Following the demise of DAB radio channels ITN News Radio and Bloomberg Radio in July 2002 and December 2002 respectively, permission has been granted to use the spare bandwidth for multimedia and entertainment data services. Both ITN News (now ITV news) and Bloomberg continue to broadcast successfully, away from the DAB platform.

DAB digital radio logo

The Radio Authority - predecessor to OFCOM - had required Digital One to sign up new radio stations to the national commercial multiplex at the earliest opportunity, however, after several extensions of time to find new services and much speculation that Sky News Radio or WRN Europe may join the multiplex on the two spare slots created by ITN News Radio and Bloomberg Radio, the two slots are still occupied by a "birdsong" track and dead air.

OFCOM's ruling could pave the way for lucrative subscription-based data services to be introduced to other local commercial DAB multiplexes with spare capacity, instead of offering community and new, diverse radio stations access to the DAB digital radio platform.

Digital One has teamed up with BT Wholesale to deliver content to DAB-enabled handheld devices within the next eighteen months. It is expected new, smaller DAB digital radio chips will be installed in mobile phones, allowing broadcast and downloadable music, video clips and interactive text and information services. The new data services are likely to be encrypted or funded by subscription. The DAB modules in current radios will not allow the new data services to be downloaded or viewed.

It is anticipated that some of the revenue generated by the new project could allow more UK transmitters to be built.

The list of national commercial DAB stations available through the multiplex operated by Digital One is as follows:

  • Classic FM

  • Core

  • Life

  • Oneword

  • Planet Rock

  • PrimeTime Radio

  • talkSPORT

  • Virgin Radio

To receive DAB digital radio stations in the UK, you need a DAB digital radio - a new type of radio that can receive digital radio broadcasts. For more information, read our guide to DAB digital radio and discover more about the tuners available to buy.

Related links:
national commercial DAB radio stations, on this website.
guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
portable digital radios, available to buy now, via this website.
pocket DAB radios, on this website.
hi-fi separates DAB digital tuners, on this website. promo banner

Have it all? DAB digital radio

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