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Monday, 9th July 2012 (updated 23rd November: info added; Nottinghamshire corrected to Derbs; regional DAB info added)
Oxford, Gloucester and North Wales look forward to local DAB launch

Government, the Beeb and the commercial radio industry have agreed a way forward for the roll-out of local DAB digital radio, with a £21 million plan.

As part of the agreement, a new group is being formed, that will examine each of the proposed DAB multiplex areas to figure out how best to serve listeners so that DAB coverage is at least as good as FM in those areas. A technical plan will be produced for each area, detailing exactly when and how coverage will be completed.

This first phase of the agreement requires five new local DAB multiplexes to be launched within eighteen months. The new multiplexes will be in: Gloucestershire; Herefordshire & Worcestershire; Derbyshire; North East Wales & West Cheshire, and Oxfordshire.

MuxCo, the holder of the Gloucestershire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire and North-East Wales, Chester & Liverpool DAB licence, has already stated its intention to launch the North-East Wales mux in November 2012 and are hopeful a date for the Gloucestershire multiplex will soon be finalised.

A decision will be made after 2013 as to whether to proceed with a DAB switchover date - with discussions for the timespan to allow stations on FM to migrate fully to digital and for listeners to upgrade to DAB receivers.

As part of this second phase, the group will look at how existing local DAB transmitter coverage can be improved or expanded. FM will only be "switched off" if local DAB coverage can be expanded to at least 90 percent of FM coverage. Further expansion of DAB will take place in a third and final phase to achieve the criteria for the "switch off" date.

A number of regional DAB multplexes will be turned off (check the linked page for those multiplexes affected) from 2013 and the frequencies given over to improving and expanding local digital radio. Some stations carried on the affected regional multiplexes will transfer to local multiplexes, where space allows.

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Related links:
list of radio stations, on this website.

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