Jeremy Hunt announces structure to create thriving local TV.
A new framework which will allow local television services to be created across the UK has been published today by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Government is committed to acting to address the technical and commercial barriers to developing new and thriving local TV provision broadcast on Freeview - the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform.
To make local TV feasible, Mr Hunt is announcing that a package of geographic interleaved spectrum will be allocated and managed by a new licensed multiplex company. This company will be obliged to build and operate the necessary multiplexes to carry separately licensed local TV services. The number of services that will emerge is subject to spectrum coverage and commercial sustainability. Ofcom will lead the licence award process for each.
In addition, we intend to secure appropriate prominence for the local TV services on electronic programme guides, with high numbers on DTT and front page access on cable and satellite platforms.
“A vital part of local democracy”
Hailing local media as “a vital part of local democracy,” Mr Hunt said that providing new TV services offered “great scope to contribute to growth in our creative industries, develop local journalism and help bring communities together around a shared voice.”
The framework does not include the creation of a single national ‘spine’, but businesses may come together into a network if that makes commercial sense. It will be for the bidders of the licences to develop their commercial propositions and make the case to Ofcom through the award process.
As previously announced, the infrastructure costs will be met from £25 million allocated as part of the television licence fee settlement. We intend to publish a list of locations indicating spectrum coverage and potential local TV areas in due course.