Last local TV channels rush to launch this month


Update | Ofcom has confirmed that the final set of new local TV channels are due to go live by the end of July.

Since November 2013, local TV services have been going on air on Freeview and other platforms in selected locations across the UK, based on spare Freeview frequencies fitted around existing national services.

The broadcast regulator has now confirmed that in addition to the previously announced KMTV service, which will be broadcast terrestrially in the Maidstone and Tonbridge area from 10th July 2017, local TV services for Carlisle, Guildford, Salisbury and Scarborough will also launch during July, with Ofcom having issued all stations with the necessary licence paperwork.

Funding deadline
The stations have to launch by 31st July if they want access to a pot of BBC licence free money that was made available to local TV operators as part of the previous licence fee settlement.

Under the terms of the local TV channel's licences, the stations will be required to launch on the following dates:

  • Salisbury 19th July 2017
  • Carlisle 25th July 2017 Revised date
  • Guildford 26th July 2017
  • Scarborough 31st July 2017

All of the above stations are part of the That’s TV network of local channels. That's TV most recently launched That's York, but also operates local channels in locations including Cambridge, Oxford and the Solent area.

Local TV is found on Freeview channel 7 in England, except in London and York where it is on channel 8. Availability on cable and satellites depends on the station, but none of the latest launches will appear on satellite.

Freeview viewers will need to retune to get their local channel, as well as three additional semi-national channels piggybacking on the local TV signal: True Crime (channel 60); True Movies (62); Kix (127) and Tiny POP  (126).

The roll-out of local TV has proved to be highly controversial, with the majority of operators pulling back from originally promised local programme commitments, in favour of syndicated or networked programmes. STV replaced its two city TV services earlier this year with its new STV2 network. But some stations, notably Notts TV and Mustard (Norwich) have bucked the trend, maintaining comprehensive local output.

Locations including Bangor (Wales), Inverness, Kidderminster, Luton and Plymouth were originally envisaged to get a local TV station, but lost out either due to a lack of applications or applications rejected by Ofcom for not being viable.



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