The locations are Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Swansea.
Ofcom chose the locations from a list of 65 towns and cities that applied for licences earlier this year. It examined interest from operators and local audiences along with the feasibility of each project.
The regulator will take another eight to 12 weeks on further consultation before awarding the licences. Another 24 locations have been earmarked for a future round of licensing.
The UK government’s latest settlement with the BBC set aside £40 million (€47 million) for local TV. Remaining budgets will be made up from advertising revenue.