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New National Radio Network Coming to UK

Digital Two license will be auctioned off this year

Ofcom has plans for a second national commercial network of DAB radio stations, says Digital Radio UK. The launch of Digital Two could provide the capacity for over 15 further national radio stations and lead to the launch of new digital stations.

Ofcom recently consulted on the Broadcasting Technical Code for DAB, which included the use of DAB+ for up to 30 percent of the new Digital Two capacity. The current national commercial network broadcasts 14 national commercial radio stations on DAB to around 90 percent of the United Kingdom population.

“Our current national commercial multiplex is full,” said Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey. “To address that, Ofcom will offer the license to build and run a second national commercial multiplex.”

The license for Digital Two was previously awarded in 2007 to the 4 Digital Group, which elected not to proceed. This year, a new auction will be held, and a new winner should be announced by the end of 2014.

A new minimum specification and digital tick mark for U.K. radios are also being rolled out, which includes both DAB and DAB+ standards.