Switch on for UK local TV

November 25, 2013 11.07 Europe/London By Julian Clover

UK MapComux UK has switched on the local TV Network Operations Centre (NOC) ahead of the launch of Estuary TV in Grimsby.

The first station in the new wave of local TV stations will make its debut on Monday evening with a local news show premiering at 17.40 GMT.

All local channels in England and Northern Ireland will be listed at position 8 in the programme guide. Following the closure of Gold on DTT, local channels in Scotland and Wales have been allocated LCN 26. Originally these services were scheduled to be listed at 45.

A further 18 stations across the UK are preparing to go to air before the end of 2014, and an additional 28 are set to launch in the second phase in 2014/15.

The local multiplex has sufficient capacity to broadcast three channels – one channel will be allocated to local TV licensees and the other two will be sold commercially on a national basis. The profits made by the sale of this capacity will be used to fund the services for local television.

Comux Chief Executive, Ed Hall commented: “We believe this model addresses the key challenge that local TV operators have faced in the past – the financial barrier to launching and successfully maintaining a local TV channel. As well as a commercially sustainable and robust solution, we have also now created the potential to provide an attractive return to the licence holders and to the local TV industry as a whole”.

The transmission and network access for Comux is provided by Arqiva. The network approach enables the Comux multiplex of channels to be broadcast from new custom-designed antennae to local communities. Arqiva also manages the high power transmission equipment on these sites, required to enable local TV reception.