Local DAB launches in Gloucestershire
A new local digital radio multiplex went live this morning following several weeks of testing. Local BBC and commercial stations covered the official switch-on event on their respective breakfast shows.
The multiplex, which uses VHF block 10C, adds BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Heart Gloucestershire, Sunshine Radio and Gold to the DAB digital radio line up. The multiplex broadcasts initially from two transmitters - Churchdown Hill and Stockend Wood. Coverage Map - Outdoor (MuxCo website) >
According to multiplex operator MuxCo, two further transmitters located at Cirencester and Icomb Hill will go live before the end of the year, bringing the total number of transmitter to four and enhancing coverage in the Cotswolds. Coverage Map - Outdoor 4 transmitter network (MuxCo website) >
It's MuxCo's third local digital multiplex launch so far this year, with the multiplex operator having launched local radio on DAB in North East Wales and Chester plus Mid and West Wales in recent months.
The launch of Gloucester's local DAB service comes after several weeks of BT network delays. As a temporary workaround, MuxCo is feeding the Gloucestershire transmitters via satellite. MuxCo's Matt Deegan explained on the MuxCo website last month that the operator "had to think somewhat creatively to get around these BT issues", adding that "we are hopeful that this is only a temporary solution we are using existing equipment from Arqiva to achieve this somewhat over-engineered solution."
MuxCo is currently working on launching the neighbouring Hereford and Worcester local multiplex and one for Surrey before the end of the year, as part of an industry-wide drive to boost DAB radio coverage across the UK in advance of the Government's decision whether or not to proceed with a digital radio switchover.