Insights Ofcom consults on national radio multiplex licence renewals


Ofcom is consulting on the renewal of the UK’s two national commercial radio multiplexes. These multiplexes, operated by Digital One Limited and Sound Digital Limited, carry national commercial DAB services. Digital One’s national radio multiplex licence expires in 2023, while Sound Digital’s licence expires in 2028. This year, the Government gave Ofcom the power to renew these licences until 2035.

Ofcom is seeking views on three main proposals; in renewing the licences it intends:

  • not to impose any additional coverage obligations, or require the provision of a new technical plan in renewing the licences;
  • not to require the licensees to provide new proposals for how they would promote or assist the acquisition of digital radio equipment; and
  • not to set a percentage of multiplex revenue (PMR) rate for the renewed term of the licences; this approach would require the consent of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who might direct Ofcom on a PMR rate to set.

The consultation does not relate to the BBC’s national digital radio multiplex, which is regulated under the BBC Charter and Agreement, or to local radio multiplex licences.

The consultation closes on 21 July 2022. Following this, Ofcom will set out its final views and a timetable for renewal of both licences. To access the consultation, click here.