Ofcom consults on Hereford and Worcester DAB proposals

Ofcom has launched a formal consultation on plans to launch the Hereford and Worcester DAB digital radio multiplex on a new frequency in September 2013.

The multiplex will allow listeners in the two counties to tune into BBC Hereford and Worcester, Free Radio, Sunshine Radio and a number of other services on DAB for the first time.

Operator MuxCo has formally told Ofcom that it wishes to launch the Hereford and Worcester multiplex on a different frequency to the one originally assigned to it (VHF Block 10B). Under the proposals, listeners in most of Herefordshire and Worcestershire would be able to tune into services on VHF Block 12A, which is currently being used to transmit regional DAB services across the West Midlands.

The West Midlands regional service ends in two weeks' time, freeing up the frequency. Now Ofcom has a legal requirement to consult on the proposals, to see if stakeholders and listeners in the area feel the frequency change "would unacceptably narrow the range of DAB programme services which will be available in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area."

The consultation closes on the 10th September 2013. Subject to Ofcom approval, the new Hereford and Worcester DAB multiplex will launch later that month from the Ridge Hill and Malvern transmitters. By no later than February, the multiplex will be extended to the Bromsgrove transmitter. According to coverage plans issued by MuxCo, this will allow motorists on the M5 to listen to Hereford and Worcester DAB services from between the M5/M42 interchange down to Gloucester.

Leominster and Redditch will be two notable locations not served by the multiplex at launch, regardless of frequency used. In total, the first three transmitters to broadcast Hereford and Worcester DAB services are expected to reach 231,465 out of 339,323 households within the two counties.

Launch Plan
MuxCo Hereford and Worcester
Site Height (in metres above ordinance datum* )
Antenna Height (in metres above Ground Level)
Effective Radiated Power (ERP) kW
Antenna & Bearing
Ridge Hill
SO 630 333
Omni panel array
SO 775 464
Dipole 082ÂșETN
SO 947 730
Omni-directional panel antenna
*AOD – sometimes also referred to as ‘above sea level’
Source: Ofcom / MuxCo South Midlands

Meanwhile, MuxCo has confirmed that the neighbouring Gloucester DAB multiplex would not be ready to start regular test transmissions until September, due to BT infrastructure delays. Sporadic tests had been reported by listeners in the area over the past month.

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