- Improved local TV coverage for London and Edinburgh promised if Comux wins local TV multiplex licence.
A day ahead of the closing deadline for representations from stakeholders in local TV, Comux UK - one of four applicants for the licence to operate the local TV multiplex has published its detailed technical proposals should it win the licence.
"Since the application was submitted in August last year a number of local licences have been awarded, and we have heard from several asking for more details on the precise role that the multiplex operator will have", said Ed Hall, Founder of Comux UK. "In light of those requests, and as Ofcom is seeking further comments from interested parties, we have decided to publish our plan."
The winner of the local TV multiplex operator's licence would be responsible for getting the local TV services from the broadcasters onto Freeview and into households.
Under Comux UK's plans, the first local TV services serving the UK's capitals - London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast - could launch on the multiplex as soon as this Autumn, after a brief spell of testing, with remaining local TV services following shortly thereafter.
Comux also confirmed that it would seek improvements to the originally proposed coverage of several local TV stations by having local TV services broadcast from the top or near the top of transmitter masts, rather than part way down as was initially suggested.
The move to broadcasting from antenna at the top of the Crystal Palace mast would significantly improve coverage of the future London local TV service. The move would mean that London's local service would reach up to 5 million households, an increase of up to 2 million households based on the first predictions. Any move to transmit from the main antenna at Crystal Palace is subject to Ofcom approval.
The published details also reveal that Comux would strive to enhance coverage in Edinburgh by encouraging use of an alternative frequency from the Craigkelly transmitter and by using an additional signal from the Black Hill transmitter. Around 30% of households in Edinburgh use the Black Hill transmitter to receive TV services, a reason why STV repeats the Edinburgh version of STV News at Six on STV+1 from the Black Hill transmitter, which is normally used for TV targeted at Glasgow.
Comux has also suggested that additional capacity on the multiplex could be used to transmit an HD service in MPEG4 format alongside the local TV service, which would still use the traditional MPEG2 format used for standard definition Freeview channels.
Alongside Comux, Avanti, BBC (LMux) and Local TV Multiplex Ltd are applying for the licence. Ofcom's Broadcast Licencing Committee is expected to reveal its decision shortly.
A full list of applicants and their proposals can be accessed via the Ofcom website: http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/tv-broadcast-licences/local/applicants-mux/