Demand grows for small-scale DAB multiplexes in UK


Groups from across the United Kingdom are submitting applications for the third round of small-scale DAB licensing.

Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology which provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves.

UK broadcast news website is reporting strong demand from potential multiplex operators, who are lining up applications to media regulator Ofcom for 25 potential new licences.

The website reports at least two applicants for the licences in the English towns of Milton Keynes and Bedford, with other groups wanting to operate DAB multiplexes in York, Oxford, West Wiltshire, Taunton, Leicester and Middlesbrough; along with Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Aberdeen in Scotland and Swansea in Wales.

Ofcom says: “The small-scale DAB programme will enable the launch of around 200 multiplexes, covering all four UK nations. We expect these to broadcast a range of radio services, ranging from grass-roots community services to specialist music stations, and services aimed at minority groups and other under-served audiences.”

 The regulator has already awarded 25 new DAB multiplex licences in the first round of licensing last year, and is currently reviewing 30 further applications from the most recent round. The first full-time small-scale digital radio multiplex launched in December, in Tynemouth and South Shields in the north east of England, carrying 13 stations, and a second in Salisbury went on-air in March, with two transmission sites broadcasting 16 stations.

Ofcom small scale DAB map

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