65 in running for local TV

Sixty five UK towns and cities are in the running to pioneer the UK’s first local television services says Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

With the first wave of licences due to be awarded next year, the eligible areas including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cambridge, Guildford, Leeds and Southampton are being asked to make the case for their town as the venues for the first service.

Hunt said: “These new, local TV services will be a fundamental change in how people get information about their own communities, and how they hold their representatives to account. There’s a huge appetite for local news and information in communities the length and breadth of the country. I want people to be able to watch television that’s truly relevant to them, about what’s happening where they live and featuring the people they know.”
The Government is also seeking views from potential multiplex operators and asking them which locations they think are necessary to make their model a success.

Ofcom has carried out a detailed analysis to establish which towns and cities across the UK have good geographic interleaved (GI) spectrum coverage from existing transmitters and are therefore potential locations for the first licences.

The call for support for towns and cities to be selected in the first wave will run in parallel to a wider consultation on the local TV legislative process. It is expected that the initial list will be narrowed down to around 20 contenders for the first tranche of licensing before the end of the year.

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