UK communications infrastructure and media services provider Arqiva has welcomed the government’s decision to allow regulator Ofcom to renew two essential national commercial digital radio multiplex licenses, following consultation.
Digital One Ltd Multiplex and Sound Digital Ltd Multiplex were set to expire in 2023 and 2028 respectively, but will now be extended for a further period to December 2035. For consumers, the decision means that people across the UK will be able to continue accessing uninterrupted services to a large array of radio content through their digital devices on a free-to-air basis.
The decision will also offer radio operators the long-term certainty needed to invest in infrastructure and content. Additionally, it will help secure the long-term and sustainable future of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) – guaranteeing that DAB continues to thrive while offering the widest choice to listeners.
DAB radio services continue to expand and supports an ever-increasing number of services, and remains the public’s preferred way of listening to digital radio services. The pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of the DAB radio network and radio – by ensuring that people can access entertainment and information that is relevant for their situations. For many communities across the country, localised radio stations and regional news have become an increasingly vital way of accessing regional news and announcements, and for remaining connected during this challenging period.
“Yesterday’s announcement by the government is a positive outcome for consumers across the UK and industry – helping to provide a stable platform for commercial radio in the UK for the next decade and beyond,” declared Paul Donovan, Arqiva CEO. “The decision will also underpin the certainty needed to drive long-term investment in DAB technology and programming to ensure the future of radio remains bright.”
“After what has been a challenging period through Covid-19, this show of definitive support from the government and various stakeholders, symbolises the hugely encouraging long-term future of this essential national asset,” he added.
“Radio’s distinctive and much-loved format means it continues to be at the heart of people’s lives,” commented Media Minister Julia Lopez. “Today, we are confirming plans to extend radio multiplex licences until 2035 so our hugely popular stations can continue to reach audiences through digital radio networks and we can give broadcasters the certainty they need to invest in their future services.”