Insights Ofcom publishes applications for second round of small-scale DAB licensing


Ofcom describes small-scale DAB as an innovative technology that will provide a low-cost route for local commercial, community and specialist music stations to take to the digital airwaves. Ofcom has published the applications it has received to operate small-scale radio multiplexes in North West England and North East Wales. A total of 30 applications were received for 18 of the areas advertised. No applications were received for: Chester & Ellesmere Port; Clitheroe; Rhyl, Ruthin & Mold; and Wirral.

Licences will be awarded by Ofcom in a competitive process, with each applicant judged against specified criteria.

The list of multiplex licence areas that Ofcom plans to advertise in Round Three is available on its website.

Advertisements for multiplex licences in London and South East England, originally planned for Round Four, are now likely to be published at a later date due to delays in obtaining international spectrum coordination agreements in this part of the UK. The pressure on available spectrum in that part of the UK means that Ofcom will also need to expand the size of the South East England “macro area” to include some additional locations which were previously outside it.

Ofcom plans to announce the licence areas to be advertised in Round Four at the same time it publishes the Round Three licence advertisements in late 2021 or early 2022. For the reasons outlined above, Round Four is unlikely to include any areas in the South East England macro area but instead will include areas from across other parts of the UK. For a link to the second round applications received, click here. To access the list of multiplex licence areas, click here.