Digital switchover to reach Gibraltar

UPDATE 20/12/2012: Gibraltar launches digital network Read more >

Citizens of Gibraltar, the UK territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, will be able to watch and listen to digital terrestrial TV and radio broadcasts very shortly, following a £1 million award by Gibraltar's Regulatory Authority (GRA) to Arqiva to design and build a digital terrestrial television and DAB digital radio network.

Digital terrestrial television and DAB digital radio station are to be up and running by the end of 2012.

Two digital multiplexes will be set up. Each multiplex will have capacity for up to six TV channels. The services will transmit on UHF channels 30 and 56, which were allocated to Gibralter by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2006 following negotiations with Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Portugal. UK regulator Ofcom represented the Gibraltar authorities in these international negotiations.

The DAB digital radio service will use blocks 12B and 12C on the VHF band. Currently, VHF channel 12 is used for analogue television. GBC transmits its service on VHF from North Mole transmitter, near sea level, across the Town and over the border into Spain. Arqiva report that the two DAB digital radio multiplexes will have capacity for four separate services, which is low in comparision to the number of services carried on DAB multiplexes elsewhere.

Commenting on the award of the contract to Arqiva, Paul Canessa, chief executive of the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority said, “It’s very reassuring to have Arqiva building our new digital networks.  It’s a big step for us and to have the acknowledged experts delivering our infrastructure means we can proceed towards our TV switchover with confidence.”  

Transmitters for both the television and radio services are to be built on Upper Rock. Currently, Gibralter's analogue TV service uses a variety of frequencies around different sides of the Rock in order to provide sufficient reception.
Gibraltar analogue TV frequency map

Although analogue television will be switched off in favour of the new digital transmissions, there are no plans to turn off FM radio.

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