Comux requests extra frequency to boost Sheffield Local TV coverage

Local TV multiplex operator Comux has requested that Ofcom consider awarding a 'filler' frequency for the local multiplex carrying Sheffield Local Television in spectrum earmarked for potential Freeview HD services. Any such allocation would be temporary.

In its submission to Ofcom, the operator states: "Coverage of Sheffield from the local Sheffield transmitter is very limited and there is no other available frequency from Emley Moor at this time. Comux would like to register interest in use of a 600MHz channel as a temporary solution to improve television coverage of the Sheffield area."

Comux confirmed that in the event of an award, it  "would work cooperatively with any larger licensee in order to resolve conflict in the Sheffield area". In the long term, Comux intended to "establish a longer term solution to the coverage area, possibly by the use of a new, more local, transmitter site, but this will take two or three years to investigate and implement."

Currently, Sheffield Local Television is scheduled to launch on the Comux-operated local TV multiplex broadcasting from the local transmitter, sometimes locally referred to as "Tapton Hill" or "Crosspool" on UHF channel 55. Due to local topography, the transmitter does not cover all of the Sheffield area. The Sheffield transmitter was designed to provide terrestrial TV coverage in areas immediately at the side of the Pennine Hills, shielded from the main transmitter station at Emley Moor in West Yorkshire.

Should Ofcom pursue its intention to clear the 700 MHz frequency band later this decade, local TV services such as Sheffield Local Television would be forced to another frequency, if one was available. At that point, a switch to the newer, DVB-T2 standard used by Freeview HD would allow greater scope for a single frequency network to be created, allowing the Sheffield transmitter to use the same frequency as any new filler transmitter launched by Comux.
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  1. It really does need this, the limited service from Tapton Hill would probably struggle to be viable. It would be nice to see the Tapton Hill footprint extended and a supplementary transmitter, perhaps located at Clifton Hill, extending the service to the rest of Sheffield and maybe the whole of South Yorkshire.


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