Local TV on Freeview: the final expansion

After a quiet few months for local TV expansion, another 14 local TV stations are due to go live within the next 18 months in various locations across England, Wales and Scotland, offering Freeview viewers an alternative way to access local news and information.

Operators who won licences in Ofcom's last local TV licensing round during 2014/15 need to be gearing up for a launch soon, or face the loss of their licence. Each local TV licence entitles a local station to launch on Freeview in their respective area, although some of the medium to larger operators may also appear on Virgin; the largest are also on Sky.

Viewers can expect local TV to arrive by mid-2017 in Aberdeen (Around Aberdeen/STV), Ayr (Ayrshire Today/STV), Basingstoke (That's Hampshire), Carlisle (That's Carlisle), Dundee (View from the Bridges/STV), Guildford (That's Surrey), Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (KMTV), Middlesbrough (Made in Teesside), Mold (Bay TV Clwyd), Reading (That's Reading), Salisbury (That's Salisbury), Scarborough (Yorkshire Coast TV), Swansea (Bay TV Swansea) and York (Hello York).

Where local TV is already on air, it's had a mixed response from viewers - with signs that local TV stations set up outside of the UK's largest cities have been more warmly accepted by viewers than the likes of perhaps the most high profile local station, London Live. Increasingly, smaller stations are sharing content, including the weekly flagship show Digital Nation, featuring reports filed by local stations across the UK. The show also appears on the BBC iPlayer.

Details about the launch plans for the remaining local stations remains sketchy, and some launches have been postponed to allow for technical changes to the way the local TV signal will be distributed on Freeview.

Underpinning local TV is a local TV multiplex, operated by Comux, which carries the relevant local TV channel to households within a given coverage area, plus two additional Freeview channels - currently True Movies 1 (channel 82) and children's channel POP (channel 125).

When is the infrastructure supporting the new local TV stations on Freeview likely to go live?
Ofcom currently expects the local TV multiplexes to go live by the following dates, some may be subject to change, and those marked with an asterisk are subject to various technical factors.

These dates should not be confused with confirmed launch dates for the actual local TV services due to go live in each area; these dates will be confirmed closer to the time.

Aberdeen                      02/03/2017
Broadcast from Durris transmitter, UHF channel 30.

Ayr                           02/03/2017
Broadcast from Darvel transmitter, UHF channel 30.

Basingstoke                   07/07/2016
Broadcast from Hannington transmitter, UHF channel 51.

Carlisle                      01/07/2017
Broadcast from the Caldbeck transmitter, UHF channel 56

Dundee                        02/03/2017
Broadcast from the Angus transmitter, UHF channel 48
and Tay Bridge relay, UHF channel 51.

Guildford                     02/06/2016
Broadcast from Guildford transmitter, UHF channel 51

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells 07/07/2016
Broadcast from Bluebell Hill transmitter, UHF ch. 27 and 
Tunbridge Wells, UHF channel 48.

Middlesbrough                30/06/2016 *
Broadcast from Bilsdale transmitter, UHF channel 24
(Baseline technical parameters subject to finalisation)

Mold                          13/01/2016 *
Broadcast from Moel-Y-Parc transmitter, UHF channel 56
(Baseline technical parameters subject to finalisation)

Reading                       02/06/2016
Broadcast from the Hannington transmitter, UHF channel 29

Salisbury                     02/06/2016
Broadcast from the Salisbury transmitter, UHF channel 51

Scarborough                   20/06/2016
Broadcast from Oliver's Mount transmitter, UHF channel 56
(Subject to confirmation of revised build timetable)

Swansea                       14/07/2016 *
Broadcast from Kilvey Hill transmitter, UHF channel 30

York                          16/07/2016 *
Broadcast from Askham Bryan transmitter, UHF channel 24
(Baseline technical parameters subject to finalisation)

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  1. Main problem is continuous loop programming and news often not updated, nothing like the USA successful model.

  2. I wonder how long before the Scottish local TV channels become STV Aberdeen, STV Dundee etc

  3. Probably the only mistake I'll ever find on a516, but "Middlesbrough" only has one 'o'.

    1. I'm sure there's more around! In this instance adding -ugh to "Middlesboro'" on an internal document we keep. Now amended. Thanks.

  4. Cambridge isn't on tbe list above, when is it meant to go live?

    1. Cambridge's local TV service is already on-air. It's available on Freeview channel 8 and transmits from the Madingley transmitter (transmission are in an easterly direction covering Cambridge and some locations immediately to the north and south.)

    2. Given my aerial points almost at Maddingley and I had quite good analogue channel 5 (also from Maddingley) I'm surprised I can't receive it in Milton. It's not far at all, if I can't get it then I suspect not many people can. Including all the people twice as far away in Cambridge itself.

    3. The channel says its received widespread positive reception reports, including from far away as Newmarket. Assuming you're using a wideband aerial and are not right next door to a 4G mast without a filter, it's on UHF channel 40. If you can't receive, then I would very strongly suggest to check this link out:

  5. Dread to think how awful Bay TV Clwyd will be. The provisional schedule showed it largely to be a simulcast of Bay TV Liverpool which is bloody awful.

    Would much rather have seen an STV approach with all the Welsh licences under one owner with a shared schedule with local news and the odd local programme.

  6. Any news on the Bedford and Luton local TV arrangements? Luton's went back to be consulted with Ofcom to bring local TV for the whole of Bedfordshire.

    1. There's been no further mention of this local TV licence to date.

  7. The fact that 'Clwyd' hasn't officially existed since 1st April 1996 even though you still get things with 'Clwyd' in its name, like the River Clwyd, the Clwydian Range and Theatr Clwyd, I can't help thinking Bay TV Clwyd was mperhaps not the best name for the channel that could've been used.
    I live in Wrexham myself so would be unable to receive this channel on Freeview unless it transmits from the Wrexham-Rhos relay as well.
    I see the On-Air date has already passed so I wonder how long the launch date will be delayed by?

    I am able to receive Bay TV Liverpool and I think there are way too many 'Arts Alive' programmes on the station. I also wonder if when Bay TV Clwyd does go on air, whether Bay TV Liverpool currently showing 'Drop The Puck' featuring the Deeside Dragons will switch to Bay TV Clwyd or whether it will stay on Bay TV Liverpool or if it will be shown on both either as a simulcast or at different times to each other?

  8. I see that some areas such as Harlow and West Essex / East Hertfordshire are still left in limbo as regards TV coverage, by that I mean we do not seem to be regarded as needing a local TV station to cover the area. Where as 95% of the other overlap areas DO get their own TV stations on Freeview.Please can someone address this problem.

  9. I doubt if salisbury ever gets on air


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