Oxfordshire's local DAB service is switched on

Ed Vaizey will be on hand to switch on local DAB
Local DAB digital radio has gone live across most of Oxfordshire. To mark the launch of the new local DAB multiplex, BBC Oxford, Heart Thames Valley and Jack FM turned out at Oxford's Museum of History and Science to witness the switch on, which took place at 9:30am.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey officially switched the service on, which broadcasts from the Oxford (Beckley) and Farthinghoe transmitters. At the event he stated "I'm very happy to be switching on these new transmitters for local digital radio in the Oxford area. Boosting local coverage means the excellent range of local DAB digital radio stations can be received by even more listeners, at home and in their car."

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK said that the "Oxford local multiplex launch today is a unique collaboration between BBC and commercial radio".

According to Digital Radio UK, the switch-on will give 300,000 people access to local radio stations on DAB for the first time, including listeners across Ed Vaizey's constituency in Wantage and Didcot. A further transmitter at Boars Hill is to be brought into service next year, boosting local DAB coverage across south west Oxford.

Ahead of the official launch, the multiplex carried test transmissions including an audio tribute to Oxford's rich history. Jack FM invited Facebook members to let the station know where the test transmissions could be heard.

What's on the new DAB multiplex?
Five stations launched this morning on the multiplex. All services are transmitting in 128kbps stereo:

BBC Oxford
Heart (Thames Vally)

The new Arqiva-run local multiplex carrying Oxfordshire local radio transmits on VHF Block 10B, but most digital radios just need to go through an automatic rescan to gain access to the new stations, which will sit alongside existing national DAB radio stations in the station list.

  Oxfordshire DAB coverage map:
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New multiplexes
The Oxfordshire multiplex is the first new local multiplex for several years. Apart from an extension to the South East Devon multiplex into North Devon, the last few years has seen very little improvement to coverage across the UK.

The next local multiplex to launch is expected to be the "Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool (WCL)" local multiplex serving the Wirral, parts of Cheshire and North East Wales. MuxCo, the company operating the "WCL" multiplex is in the final stages of installing equipment and infrastructure in order for local services there to go live early in 2013.

During 2013, further local multiplexes serving Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Herfordshire, plus Northamptonshire and Derbyshire are scheduled to go live. Along with Oxfordshire, they form a chain of new multiplexes built by Arqiva as part of a £6 million project to boost local DAB coverage in England.
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