Small-scale DAB could lead to hundreds of new UK radio stations

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Hundreds of new local digital radio stations could start broadcasting in the UK from next year, under proposals outlined by Ofcom

Ofcom say:

With over 40% of the UK’s radio listening now taking place on the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) platform, today’s proposals mark a major step towards expanding local DAB coverage, giving listeners an even wider choice of new digital radio stations.

Small-scale DAB is cutting-edge technology, pioneered in the UK by an Ofcom engineer. It provides local commercial, community and specialist music stations with a low-cost route to hitting the digital airwaves.

The consultation sets out:

• our proposed spectrum and licensing process;
• our approach to developing a coverage area plan; and
• how we intend to advertise licences and assess applications.

We would like to hear from interested parties by Friday 4 October and intend to start advertising licences early in 2020.

Public consultation information

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2 thoughts on “Small-scale DAB could lead to hundreds of new UK radio stations

  1. Mangosman

    I don’t think so!
    DAB and DAB+ use a channel of 1.56 MHz wide and when DAB+ is used typically more than 20 stereo programs are radiated from a single transmitter. There are only 14 channels available for use, however some of these channels are also used in Ireland and France. As a result for local radio to transmit a few programs on such a wide bandwidth means much sharing of channels. To achieve this the transmitted power has to be very low limiting the coverage area to very small areas.
    As an example the highest radiated power is 355 kW for National ensemble but the low power tests are on 0.1 kW.

    A much better option is to use DRM+ which uses a 0.1 MHz wide channel which is half the width of an FM channel. A single DRM+ channel and transmitter can carry 3 stereo programs. DRM+ can fit in the FM band between FM broadcasts or use 47 – 68 MHz band 1 which can make up to 168 transmission channels available. With many more channels available it will mean a separate channel will be available in the nearest coverage area, so the transmitter power can be increased to more than DAB+ can tolerate.


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