Ofcom is requiring broadcasters strengthen their disaster recovery as part of proposed changes to its digital television and digital radio technical codes.
It follows June’s fire at the Bilsdale transmission site that took out TV and radio services across Teesside and much of North Yorkshire. A separate incident at the Red Bee facility in September last year resulted in the absence of access services to some Channel 4 homes for several weeks.
The regulator wants to require TV multiplex operators to provide regular updates to Ofcom on their progress towards meeting the recommendations set out in its Bilsdale fire incident report.
This included a recommendation to promptly review the adequacy of their plans for recovering services in the event of a major incident, as well as those in place to support and communicate with affected viewers and listeners.
Channel 3 (ITV/STV), Channel 4 and Channel 5 licensees will need to assign the same priority to the resilience of access services – such as subtitling, signing and audio description – as they do to vision and sound.
Ofcom is requesting responses by February 20, 2023.