DAB multiplex change request: Herefordshire & Worcestershire

  • Start: 13 August 2013
  • Status: Statement published
  • End: 10 September 2013

A request from MuxCo South Midlands Limited ("MuxCo") to change the frequency upon which the local radio multiplex service for Herefordshire & Worcestershire will be provided was approved by Ofcom on 11 September 2013.

This request was submitted by MuxCo in accordance with section 54A of the Broadcasting Act 1996as amended by the Digital Economy Act 2010 ("the 1996 Act"). These statutory provisions require Ofcom to consult on any such requests before it makes a decision, and so a public consultation was held between 13 August and 10 September.

Under section 54A of the 1996 Act, Ofcom may approve a request to extend the coverage area of a local radio multiplex service, and/or change the frequency of a local radio multiplex licence, only if, amongst other requirements which were met, it is satisfied that doing so would not unacceptably narrow the range of programmes available by way of local digital sound programme services to listeners in the area (to be) served by the local radio multiplex service in question (i.e. Herefordshire & Worcestershire, in this particular case).

As MuxCo's proposal to change the frequency of the local radio multiplex service would have no impact on the range of local digital sound programme services (proposed to be) available in the Herefordshire & Worcestershire area, Ofcom was satisfied that this statutory criterion had been met.

Provided the request meets the terms of the statute, the decision whether or not to agree to the request is at Ofcom's discretion.

Where a request for a licence variation requires a change to the existing frequency, Ofcom's general policy is to approve such requests subject to the availability of a suitable alternative frequency and consideration of the knock-on implications to the frequencies of other multiplexes (and the stations they carry).

The proposed frequency change requested by MuxCo is part of a revised frequency plan which is designed to enhance the coverage of local DAB services across the UK as a whole. As such, the proposed alternative frequency (12A) is available, and the knock-on implications for other multiplexes is positive, in that changing the frequency of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire local radio multiplex service will reduce the levels of interference between local DAB multiplexes on the same frequencies and thus improve local DAB coverage overall. Ofcom was therefore satisfied that it should approve this request.

1 Such as the need for an application from the licence holder, including a technical plan meeting certain requirements, and for a public consultation

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