United Kingdom - Regulation and Spectrum - History

30.09.2014

Key features of regulation for digital radio regulation in the United Kingdom are:

  • Digital radio services are broadcast on Band III
  • Third party in some cases operate multiplex
  • More recently, operated by broadcasters
  • National criteria for switch off of analogue:

- 50% of listening must be via digital platforms

- Digital coverage for national services must be comparable to FM, and local DAB reach 90% of the population as well as major roads.

A Royal Charter and Agreement govern the public broadcaster; the BBC, with new stations subject to Government approval and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) regulate the commercial sector. Multiplex licences are currently awarded on a beauty contest formula rather than auctioned. Regulation controls such things as minimum bit-rate for music stations, mandatory ‘must carry’ obligations, maintenance of service providers’ stations commitments and the amount of data content.

In the United Kingdom media and communications regulator Ofcom advertise and provide the licenses for digital radio services in the United Kingdom, under the Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996. Ofcom awards licenses for digital radio services differently depending on the type of service and the platform. Ofcom advertises the licences of new digital radio ensembles and are subject to an open competition to the highest bidder. Ensemble licence awards are awarded for twelve years. Licences are awarded on a national, regional and local basis.

Broadcasters also need to contact the ensemble or multiplex operator of a local or national DAB ensemble or digital terrestrial multiplex to broadcast within a region, subject to a fee payable to the ensemble operator.

UK’s digital radio minimum receiver specification reports

In 2013 the UK Government published a number of radio minimum receiver specification reports –domestic and in-vehicle. You can find the full reports on www.gov.uk. You can read about the tick mark initiative in the automotive section for progress.

05.06.2014

Key features of regulation for digital radio regulation in the United Kingdom are:

  • Band III
  • Third party in some cases operate multiplex
  • More recently, operated by broadcasters
  • National criteria for switch off of analogue:

> 50% of listening must be via digital platforms

> Digital coverage for national services must be comparable to FM, and local DAB reach 90% of the population as well as major roads.

A Royal Charter and Agreement govern the public broadcaster; the BBC, with new stations subject to Government approval and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) regulate the commercial sector. Multiplex licences are currently awarded on a beauty contest formula rather than auctioned. Regulation controls such things as minimum bit-rate for music stations, mandatory ‘must carry’ obligations, maintenance of service providers’ stations commitments and the amount of data content.

In the United Kingdom media and communications regulator Ofcom advertise and provide the licenses for digital radio services in the United Kingdom, under the Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996. Ofcom awards licenses for digital radio services differently depending on the type of service and the platform. Ofcom advertises the licences of new digital radio ensembles and are subject to an open competition to the highest bidder. Ensemble licence awards are awarded for twelve years. Licences are awarded on a national, regional and local basis.

Broadcasters also need to contact the ensemble or multiplex operator of a local or national DAB ensemble or digital terrestrial multiplex to broadcast within a region, subject to a fee payable to the ensemble operator.

UK’s digital radio minimum receiver specification reports

In 2013 the UK Government published a number of radio minimum receiver specification reports –domestic and in-vehicle. You can find the full reports on www.gov.uk. You can read about the tick mark initiative in the automotive section for progress.

26.09.2013

Key features of regulation for digital radio regulation in the United Kingdom are;

  • Band III
  • Third party in some cases operate multiplex
  • More recently, operated by broadcasters
  • National criteria for switch off of analogue:

        > 50% of listening must be via digital platforms. 

        > Digital coverage for national services must be comparable to FM, and local DAB reach 90% of the                      population as well as major roads.

A Royal Charter and Agreement govern the public broadcaster; the BBC, with new stations subject to Government approval and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) regulate the commercial sector. Multiplex licences are currently awarded on a beauty contest formula rather than auctioned. Regulation controls such things as minimum bit-rate for music stations, mandatory ‘must carry’ obligations, maintenance of service providers’ stations commitments and the amount of data content.

In the United Kingdom media and communications regulator Ofcom advertise and provide the licenses for digital radio services in the United Kingdom, under the Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996. Ofcom awards licenses for digital radio services differently depending on the type of service and the platform. Ofcom advertises the licences of new digital radio ensembles and are subject to an open competition to the highest bidder. Ensemble licence awards are awarded for twelve years. Licences are awarded on a national, regional and local basis.

Broadcasters also need to contact the ensemble or multiplex operator of a local or national DAB ensemble or digital terrestrial multiplex to broadcast within a region, subject to a fee payable to the ensemble operator.

UK’s digital radio minimum receiver specification reports

February 2013 government published the UK’s digital radio minimum receiver specification reports –domestic and in-vehicle. You can find both the domestic and in-vehicle papers below:

Domestic Receiver Minimum Specification 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136353/Domestic_Min__Spec.pdf

In-vehicle Receiver Minimum Specification

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136355/In_Vehicle_Min_Spec.pdf

All of the Digital Radio Action Plan papers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/digital-radio-actionplan-reports-2013. These receiver specifications are a clear signal of the government’s intention and enables manufacturers to plan future product development.

The government is scheduled to make a decision on digital radio switchover in Q4 2013. Following a positive decision on switchover, government plans to introduce a digital radio switchover certification (“tick”) mark for use on digital receivers. These minimum receiver specifications define the technical criteria that DAB receivers must comply with to use a certification mark.