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UK local TV network goes live

The UK’s planned network of nearly 50 local TV stations starts to roll out today with the launch of Estuary TV in Grimsby.

Comux, the infrastructure provider for the UK’s new terrestrial local TV services, will start to operate its Birmingham-based TV Network Operations Centre (NOC) with the channel launch. This centre will provide the infrastructure for local television companies to broadcast on Freeview, across the UK.

Estuary TV is due to start broadcasting this evening on Channel 8, with 18 more UK stations due to go to air before the end of 2014 and an additional 28 set to launch in the second launch phase in 2014/15.

“Today marks a real milestone in the UK broadcasting industry by bringing back true local TV. To deliver local TV to over 12 million homes we have built one of the most advanced transmission networks in the world with the operations centre based in Birmingham. 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,” said Comux chief executive, Ed Hall.

Comux said that the NOC launch took just 18 weeks and one day from the signing of the contract. In the past five weeks, it installed more than 18km of video cable and more than 6,000 metres of network cable that is able to send 385,000 data packets per second out of the NOC.