The Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Act 2017 (“2017 Act”) made provision for the licensing and regulation of small scale radio multiplex services. Specifically, it allowed for the introduction of secondary legislation which would apply certain provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996 and/or Communications Act 2003, with appropriate modifications, to small scale radio multiplexes. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) is now working on this secondary legislation, and earlier in 2018 carried out a consultation on the core elements of a new licensing approach.
In parallel with DCMS’s consultation, and without prejudice to its outcomes, Ofcom carried out preparatory work, so we will be in a position to proceed promptly if and when the Government introduces the necessary secondary legislation. This includes looking at frequency planning options. To inform this technical planning work and the subsequent licensing process, Ofcom sought expressions of interest from parties wanting to operate small scale DAB multiplexes and/or who are interested in providing services on these future multiplexes. This call for expressions of interest and the responses Ofcom received are published below.