Local TV channels who want to be available via satellite on the Sky platform will be allocated channel 117, according to a report in Broadcast today. Sky had already indicated earlier this year to Ofcom that it could offer channel 117 to local TV operators.
The local services, which are currently in the process of being licenced by Ofcom, will launch on Freeview via a network of local TV multiplexes during the course of 2013 and 2014, which in turn will enable viewers to receive the channels on either Freeview channel 8 (England and Northern Ireland) or channel 45 (Wales and Scotland).
Some applicants for local TV licences, notably those applying for the London licence have expressed a strong desire to be given a slot on the Sky EPG in order to reach the significant number of viewers in the capital who use Sky as their digital TV provider. Exact coverage for the London service on Freeview is unclear at the moment, with various applicants for the local TV multiplex operator's licence offering different levels of coverage. Therefore, satellite distribution would guarantee 100% Greater London coverage.
Earlier this year, a516digital.com reported that Virgin was intending to add local TV channels to its TiVO platform, while Freesat was lukewarm on the matter. However, providing local TV channels were transmitted free to air on satellite, Freesat viewers would be able to add them in "non-Freesat mode", regardless of whatever transpires on the platform.