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Hunt unveils local TV map

UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has unveiled 65 areas across the UK that could be eligible for local digital-terrestrial TV services.

Hunt published a map of eligible areas identified by media regulator Ofcom where it would be technically possible to launch local TV services using so-called ‘interleaved’ spectrum on the digital-terrestrial network, and Hunt has now published a consultation document asking the 65 areas identified to make a case for their area to be one of the first to be granted licences for such services.

However, the plan has attracted criticism as many major towns and cities, including Bradford, Leicester and Coventry, as well as a large number of rural areas, will not be eligible because of the lack of availability of spectrum. The government argues that the gap could be filled by internet-based services.

Earlier plans for a national dedicated channel on the digital-terrestrial network to form a ‘spine’ for local services were abandoned, and doubts remain about the financial viability of advertising-supported local TV.

Tags: Ofcom, Regulation, UK