Now Digital, which holds the local radio multiplex licence for Exeter & Torbay, has applied to extend the coverage area of the licence so that it also includes North Devon.
Now Digital Limited proposes to provide coverage of North Devon using three transmitters, at each of Huntshaw Cross, Barnstaple and Okehampton. It says that it will launch the first of these within six months of Ofcom granting consent to its request, and the latter two six months after "a positive decision in 2013 by Government regarding digital switchover".
Before deciding whether to agree to Now Digital's request, Ofcom is legally required to seek representations on the request from any interested parties. This consultation represents that opportunity. The closing-date for representations to be made is Wednesday 29 June 2011; any submissions received after this date may not be considered.
The relevant statute states that Ofcom can agree to the request only if we are satisfied that the change would not unacceptably narrow the range of DAB programme services available to listeners in the Exeter and Torbay area. Now Digital is not proposing to change the line-up of such services available.
Provided that the request meets the terms of the statute, the decision whether or not to agree to the request is at Ofcom's discretion. Our general policy is to grant requests from local radio multiplex licensees to extend their coverage provided we are satisfied that:
We seek views on the extent to which the request from Now Digital satisfies any or all of these policy criteria.