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Four regional DAB multiplexes to close in 2013 to allow for better local DAB

As part of the plan to upgrade DAB system, the operator of four regional radio multiplexes plans to close them next year, to release the frequencies for conventional radio coverage areas.

As part of the plan to upgrade DAB system, the operator of four
published on UK Free TV

The government's radio switchover strategy incorporates a plan to match the DAB coverage of local radio stations (both BBC and commercial - see Ofcom - Annex B. Local DAB build-out plans) with that currently provided on FM (see Ofcom - Maps).

To do this, the regional multiplexes will be closed and their frequencies used to do a large-scale replanning, incorporating a new one called 5A.

Regional DAB multiplex to close in 2013

MXR will close the following multiplexes:

When complete, the new plan looks like:

Diagram from Ofcom - An approach to DAB coverage planning.

Originally published on 26th September 2012 at 16:24

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012
5:26 PM

What can be done in regards to receiving co-blocking ensembles? I have noticed that around the Solent it is possible to pick up both Bournemouth & Sussex Coast multiplexes, both transmitting on 11B.
(The same question applies to London 3 & Sussex Coast 11B on the Hampshire & West Sussex border and between Salisbury and Andover for Swindon & South Hampshire 11C)

Secondly, on a new Sony Car radio the Berkshire & North Hants multiplex includes XFM however, on a Sony DAB hifi tuner connected to a 5 element DAB aerial the same 12D multiplex, with better signal strength than the car radio, does not contain XFM. How is this so?

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Theflyingdodo's 4 posts GB
Mike Dimmick

7:32 PM

David Penfold: The Ofcom Radio Tech Parameters spreadsheet only lists Farthinghoe and Beckley (Oxford) at present. The legal requirement is only what they outlined in their Technical Plan when they applied for the licence: Beckley, Boars Hill and Oxford. Ofcom | Radio Multiplex Licence Award: Oxfordshire

Only five years late launching...

The Arqiva document that Briantist referred to was created for Ofcom's DSO consultation titled "An approach to DAB coverage planning". In the post-consultation Interim Statement, Ofcom said:

"The options we proposed do not constitute a definitive or final view on any post-switchover DAB network but will inform the Governments decision about whether to proceed with digital radio switchover. We noted that further technical work on network planning, and public policy decisions by Government on the issues raised, would be necessary."

No-one has yet figured out who is to pay for increasing the DAB coverage to the same level as FM. The commercial stations don't want to do it as additional coverage comes at an ever-increasing cost per additional listener, typically less than the additional fees that could be charged for advertising. The multiplex operators will only do it if their customers ask, and pay, for it. The BBC can't afford it and currently isn't required to do it (for local radio; for national radio the current licence fee settlement requires them to get to 97% population coverage, still short of the 99% FM is estimated to reach).

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB

9:03 PM

Theflyingdodo: The DAB network is designed (note the complex 'radiation patterns' for each DAB transmitter) to have areas non-overlapping when different services use the same blocks.

From http://stakeholders.ofcom….pdf

If you happen to "try" to receive outside the "official" areas then you will get both bit-streams and end up with nothing. There is no intention for out-of-area coverage.

Elsewhere on the DAB network, signals on the same block from other transmitters will enhance reception.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Thursday, 20 December 2012

8:03 PM

@ Mike Dimmick

"No-one has yet figured out who is to pay for increasing the DAB coverage to the same level as FM. The commercial stations don't want to do it..."

This is no longer true, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in July 2012 outlines the funding for the rollout of local DAB multiplexes by committing each party (DCMS, BBC & commercial radio) to one third each of the cost of the work. All parties have signed up to this. The BBC have ringfenced licence fee funds fro the current settlement for their share of this cost.

"for national radio the current licence fee settlement requires them to get to 97% population coverage, still short of the 99% FM is estimated to reach"

The 99% FM coverage figure includes those with mono or hissy FM reception and those requiring a roof aerial to get any sort of signal. The figure for robust good quality FM reception is 94.9%. The BBC's national DAB coverage is very close to this now and will surpass it in 2015 when it reaches 97.4%.

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Mark's 181 posts GB

9:17 PM

Mark: Here's a link to the document….pdf

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

6:10 PM

It would be more honest of the powers-that-be to give us scientifically verified statistics on ground-floor reception on a portable FM/DAB radio via telescopic aerial. Of course, not all radios are equally sensitive, but this would be a criterium closer to real life. I could well imagine nobody is interested in such "honesty". Not least as they will now be scratching their skulls to figure out how to squash DTT into
ever less spectrum without increasing CCI...

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michael's 857 posts GB
Monday, 25 February 2013
Majid Hussain
2:09 AM

so what happens to stations like bbc coventry and warwickshire?
does this mean that the station will go off air?
and ones like it?
or will they be re allacated?

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Majid Hussain's 2 posts GB

11:41 AM

Majid Hussain: bbc coventry and warwickshire are not carried on these multiplexes.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Sunday, 23 June 2013
5:43 PM

Real radio Wales,nation radio and heart radio could be moving home to local radio multiplex.

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Marc's 9 posts GB
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