Ofcom awards Comux local TV infrastructure licence

UK regulator Ofcom has awarded Comux UK the licence to operate the UK’s local digital-terrestrial TV infrastructure.

Local TV signals will be distributed over the same network that delivers Freeview, the UK’s free-to-air DTT service. DMOL, the organisation responsible for the management and allocation of channel numbers on DTT, has reserved channel numbers for new public service local TV channels. These will be carried on channel 8 in England and Northern Ireland and channel 45 in Wales and Scotland.

Comux UK, which is owned by the local TV licensees together and managed by Canis Media, will hold the licence for an initial period of three years. Its main role will be to manage the multiplex responsibilities of transmission and distribution, and to provide technical and commercial support to local licensees. Comux said it aimed to make services available in so-called Phase 1 locations this year, with the rollout to Phase 2 locations competed by the end of 2014.

Canis Media CEO Ed Hall, the founder of Comux, said: “I’m delighted that we will be playing such an important role in what is one of the most exciting changes to the UK’s TV landscape for many years. I believe that we won because our innovative cooperative structure maximises the chance of success for each and every local TV franchise holder. I’m now looking forward to building the infrastructure and particularly excited to see the first local TV services on-air. This really is a step-change; previously local TV has been limited to a handful of cities but soon there will be up to 60 towns and cities with their own local channel. This revolutionizes how the UK’s local communities are served by TV.”