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Thursday, 20th July 2006
Ofcom announces further expansion of DAB digital radio coverage

The broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, has stated its intentions to advertise the next round of local DAB digital radio multiplex licences. From the latter part of 2006 onwards, twelve new local DAB multiplex licences will be offered to potential operators.

The new licences will broadcast on Band III - the band already in use in the UK for the transmission of DAB digital radio. This means that existing DAB digital radios and tuners will be able to pick up stations on these multiplexes.

The twelve new licences will cover Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire; Derbyshire; Wrexham and Chester; Herefordshire and Worcestershire; Northamptonshire; Oxfordshire; Gloucestershire; York and Scarborough; Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire; Guildford; Reigate and Crawley, and, finally, Lincolnshire.

North Wales and Northern Ireland will have to wait until the Republic of Ireland has phased out analogue television, since DAB uses the same frequencies. Ofcom might consider using L-Band for multiplexes in these areas. The news follows the recent launch of sports station talkSPORT in Northern Ireland following the demise of PrimeTime Radio.

Ofcom is also looking at a way to bring DAB digital radio to Suffolk, as a lack of spare frequencies means that the county is unable to have its own local DAB multiplex Essex and Sussex and much Kent will also see restrictions in local DAB coverage due to frequency clashes with the continent.

The new Great Britain-wide national multiplex is up for grabs; an announcement is expected before the end of 2006 and the multiplex could be on the air by the beginning of 2008. The new stations will not cover Northern Ireland or western Wales.

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



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