Ofcom approves local TV boost for Basingstoke and Reading

More viewers will be able to watch the forthcoming local TV stations for Reading and Basingstoke on Freeview following an Ofcom decision to allow a coverage boost.

The requests to boost coverage were made by local TV multiplex operator Comux and local TV company That's Media.

As a result of Ofcom's decision, the number of households able to receive ‘That’s Hampshire’ from Basingstoke, due to launch next summer, will increase from 63,000 to 168,000 households.

The number of households able to receive ‘That’s Berkshire’, from Reading, also due to launch next summer, will increase by almost 60%, from 170,000 to 270,000 households.

Announcing its decision, Ofcom said that "requested coverage extensions will support the viability of the local TV services, and that the extensions do not affect its original assessment of the licence awards."  But the coverage extensions have only been agreed until the beginning of 2018, because Ofcom is unable to commit to permanent coverage changes just yet because of plans to reconfigure the UK's terrestrial TV network at the end of the decade.

That's Berkshire will be boosted through the use of a change to the proposed antenna pattern from the local transmitter - the signal will be allowed to be transmitted over a wider area. That's Hampshire will be boosted through a similar change, and will be moved to an alternative frequency, details to be confirmed. Both services are due to broadcast from the Hannington transmitter mast with antenna transmitting each service in the relevant direction for the coverage area.

Once live next summer, Freeview and YouView viewers in the area will have to retune their sets or boxes to gain access to their local TV service.

Oxford coverage reduction
The coverage extension for ‘That’s Berkshire’ will result in a reduction in coverage for ‘That’s Oxford’, of up to 10%. However, Ofcom has approved this coverage change, because it considers that "on balance, the significant increase in coverage for ‘That’s Berkshire’ will benefit viewers overall."

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