[comtv-l] New framework for local television

CMA-L cma-l at commedia.org.uk
Tue Jul 19 10:09:54 BST 2011

A new framework which will allow local television services to be
created across the UK was published yesterday by Secretary of State
for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt.

The Government is committed to acting to address the technical and
commercial barriers to developing new and thriving local TV provision
broadcast on Freeview – the digital terrestrial television (DTT)
platform. To make it feasible, Mr Hunt is announcing that a package of
geographic interleaved spectrum will be allocated and managed by a new
licensed multiplex company.  This company will be obliged to build and
operate the necessary multiplexes to carry separately licensed local
TV services.  The number of services that will emerge is subject to
spectrum coverage and commercial sustainability.  Ofcom will lead the
licence award process for each.

In addition, the Government intends to secure appropriate prominence
for the local TV services on electronic programme guides, with high
numbers on DTT and front page access on cable and satellite platforms.

Mr Hunt said:

“Local media is a vital part of local democracy and plays an important
role in holding institutions to account. Audiences want more local
content that’s directly relevant to what’s going on in their own
communities, which is why it’s one of my priorities to address the
almost total lack of local TV in the UK.

“I firmly believe that creating the right conditions for viable local
TV services up and down the UK will bring about a significant change
in the media market. After careful consideration of the responses to
the local media action plan, I am confident that targeted action from
the Government and industry can put local TV on a strong and
sustainable footing.  There is great scope to contribute to growth in
our creative industries, develop local journalism and help bring
communities together around a shared voice.”

The framework does not include the creation of a single national
‘spine’, but businesses may come together into a network if that makes
commercial sense.  It will be for the bidders of the licences to
develop their commercial propositions and make the case to Ofcom
through the award process.

Amendments to the Communications Act 2003 and Wireless Telegraphy Act
2006 will be required to implement this new framework.

As previously announced, the infrastructure costs will be met from £25
million allocated as part of the television licence fee settlement.
The Government intends to publish a list of locations indicating
spectrum coverage and potential local TV areas in due course.

Notes to Editors:
1. A new framework for local TV in the UK.

2. Written Ministerial Statement: A New Framework for Local Television

3. A further update will be published in the summer which will give an
assessment of the potential number of local television licences likely
to be offered. This will be underpinned by Ofcom’s assessment of
locations with good spectrum coverage.

4. Following implementation of the necessary secondary legislation,
Ofcom will run a competition for a new multiplex company licence which
will be awarded a package of 8 MHz interleaved spectrum.

5. Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) prominence will be secured by
requiring EPG providers to give “appropriate prominence” to the
licensed local digital TV services enforced through Ofcom’s statutory
code, which will require secondary legislation.  In addition, all EPG
providers have indicated that they are willing to find a solution to
offering front page EPG access for local TV services on cable and
satellite, either through the yellow button or an app, depending on
the set-top box.

6. The specific legislative changes necessary are orders under Section
244 and Section 310 of the Communications Act 2003 and a reservation
order under Section 5 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.

Source: http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/wg-news-1.nsf/lfi/DNWA-8JVJKJ


Community Media Association
Canstream Internet Radio & Video: http://www.canstream.co.uk/

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