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Comux UK pushes bid for local TV multiplex licence

With just days to go until local TV bids have to be in, Canis Media's local TV multiplex bidder Comux UK has announced further details about its bid. 

Comux has revealed that it will be based at Birmingham's Science Park in Aston and, if successful in its bid, will roll out all 'phase 1' local TV sites in 2013 followed by a roll out of all 'phase 2' local TV sites by the end of 2014, proposing to provide "additional coverage over the minimum specifications."

In a press release published this lunchtime, the organisation stated that it "believes it has a number of unique advantages due to the not-for profit status of Comux UK."

Ed Hall, the founder of Comux UK and Chief Executive of Canis Media said: "The combination of Comux UK being owned by its local TV operator customers and its not-for-profit status means that its revenues will be used exclusively for the purposes of operating and promoting local TV.  I believe that this is the best way of ensuring the success of the UK’s exciting local TV project as it aligns the interests of Muxco and the local TV operators as well as providing the very best value for money in local TV infrastructure and services."

According to information released today, the framework of Comux UK's bid includes the fact that the local TV multiplex operator will be a cooperative not-for-profit organisation, owned in equal measure by the successful local television licensees and managed by Canis Media for an initial period of 3 years.

The primary role of Comux UK will be to manage the multiplex responsibilities of transmission and distribution. It will ensure that all profits from the commercialisation of the two national channels that are part of the licence but are not ring-fenced for local TV are used exclusively for operating and promoting local TV.

With an eye on the competition, Ed Hall remarked "We’re worried that a commercial Muxco bid winner will be tempted to charge commercial rates for its services as well as maximising profits from the two non-local multiplexes. If this does happen our fear is that the local TV project will be unsustainable for all but the largest local licence areas."

Once up and running, the successful local TV multiplex operator will provide a local channel on Freeview channel 8 (channel 45 in Scotland and Wales where BBC Alba/S4C already occupy channel 8), plus up to two "pseudo-national" digital channels.In addition to awarding a licence to a local TV multiplex operator, there will also be licences awarded for each individual local TV service.

Other bidders for the local TV multiplex operator's licence are thought to include the commercial multiplex operator Arqiva and the BBC, from whom - win or lose -  licence fee money will be given to support the launch of local TV services in the UK.

Coverage of the first batch of local TV services. Source: Ofcom.

  Related articles:
BBC proposing to bid for local TV licence

Digital TV platform operators reveal where they would put local TV

Ofcom invites wannabe local TV players to bid for a licence


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