Committee Decisions

First invitation to apply

The outcome of the capacity allocation process was determined on 17 October 2008. The terms of the reservation and reasons for our decision can be found in the Determination notice below.

Capacity for new HD services has been awarded to:

  • the Channel 3 licensees (as ITV, stv, UTV and Channel TV); and
  • a joint service provided by C4 (in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and S4C (in Wales).

The BBC was previously guaranteed DTT capacity on Multiplex B for an HD service.

More information on the decision and types of services that will be provided can be found here

Second Invitation to Apply

The outcome of the second capacity allocation process was has now been determined.

The Committee has decided not to reserve capacity at this time for either of the applicants, Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd or Channel 4 and its partner S4C.

Any capacity within Multiplex B that is not reserved by Ofcom is available for the BBC to use. The BBC will now consider options to ensure the capacity can be used to provide High Definition services that will further benefit viewers of digital terrestrial television. This brings forward by around two years the date when it was anticipated that further capacity on Multiplex B would revert to the control of the BBC Trust.

Ofcom intends next year to give the Commercial Public Service Broadcasters another opportunity to apply to provide an additional HD service from 2012.

Determination under article 3 of the television multiplex services (reservation of digital capacity) Order 2008

Background to the second invitation to apply

On 11 December 2008, Ofcom published a statutory notice stating that it proposed to reserve capacity sufficient for broadcasting one HD service on Multiplex B to relevant public service broadcasters (PSBs). This reservation was expected to become effective from the time that is possible to accommodate four HD services in Multiplex B, which is expected to be from late 2010 onwards.

The notice also served as an invitation to apply (the “Second ITA”) (-1-) for the reservation of digital capacity on Multiplex B, for which eligible broadcasters could submit applications by no later than the closing date on 19 February 2009.

Ofcom received two applications by the closing date: one from Channel 4 and its partner S4C (the “Channel 4 second application”) and another from Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd (the “Channel 5 application”).

On 9 June 2009 Ofcom’s DTT Allocation Committee (the “Committee”) agreed that, while both applications fulfilled the assessment criteria, capacity should be reserved, provisionally, on Multiplex B for the Channel 5 application, on the basis that this bid fulfilled the criteria more fully than the Channel 4 second application. The Committee further agreed, however, that the reservation of capacity for the Channel 5 application should be subject to the broadcaster resolving certain key issues, relating to its application, by 31st December 2009.

On 23 February 2010, the Committee met to review the information provided by Channel 5 and Channel 4 and S4C. The Committee decided that Channel 5 had not been able to resolve the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of the Committee and therefore agreed to withdraw the provisional reservation of capacity for the Channel 5 application.

The Committee further decided that it would not reserve capacity for the Channel 4 second application as the parties submitting the application had been unable to provide the Committee with sufficient clarification over the continued validity of their joint application.

The Committee therefore agreed not to make a reservation of capacity at this time for the reasons set out in its Determination issued today.