Ofcom has fired the starting pistol on local TV in the UK. The regulator has invited applications for 21 local TV channels that will broadcast across the UK within a specially reserved multiplex.
At the same time Ofcom has also invited applications to run the multiplex itself. The local multiplex licensee cannot charge the L-DTPS licensee a carriage cost that exceeds the net operating cost to the local multiplex licensee of providing that facility.
The areas that will be considered for the new The L-DTPS licence in the initial phase are: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea.
Stations will also be free to offer their services across cable and satellite platforms as well as online.
The multiplex operator will be required to cover all of the areas above and to propose which areas additionally to cover; they can select from 44 other areas where coverage is technically possible or make a case for other areas to be added.
Applications will close on August 13, 2012 with a final decision expected in the autumn.
The winning applicants will be expected to commence programme service within two years of the award.