Feeds

Ofcom squeezes local TV into 20 cities' tight White Spaces

Grimbsy, Swansea, London and others in the frame

The essential guide to IT transformation

Ofcom has identified 20 locations where it believes local telly, broadcast in White Space, is technically possible, and stands the best chance of being commercially viable.

The list includes Birmingham and Glasgow as well as Norwich and Leeds, but it's the London site which will most likely be contested by bidders. Those hopefuls will be judged on the size of their potential, rather than the size of their wallets, but Ofcom will be taking into account any ability to push their broadcasts into neighbouring population centres as every viewer will be needed if local TV is going to work.

The local stations will use geographically-interleaved frequencies, so-called White Spaces, which are being used to broadcast television elsewhere in the country. Full-power transmissions would interfere with those broadcasts, but by ratcheting down the power it is possible to run a local telly station without interfering with other broadcasts.

Making money out of that station is another matter entirely. Manchester's Channel M was probably the best punt at a sustainable local broadcast TV channel, and has consistently failed to bring in a significant amount of cash under a succession of owners despite extensive support from the University of Salford.

Some local television survives by limiting itself to web-based distribution, but the government is committed to the creation of local TV and Ofcom is, ultimately, responsible for implementing government commitments.

The BBC will have to cough up £40m to pay for these local services, £25m in an initial splurge to get MuxCo - the yet-to-be-established local broadcaster - set up, followed by a promise to spend £15m of licence-payer money on content from the local stations once they are established.

The details of that process, including how the MuxCo contract will be awarded, will be published in the next couple of weeks, but anyone dreaming of their own local TV station will need to be in Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton or Swansea, and have a really clever business plan to make it pay. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.