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Gibraltar digital tests in advance of digital new year

Test transmissions have begun in Gibraltar in advance of major changes to terrestrial TV and radio broadcasting in the British territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

DAB digital radio tests have commenced on VHF channel 12 - previously used for analogue TV. In turn, analogue TV - still on air on other frequencies - is set to be switched off completely at the end of this year, and be replaced by a digital terrestrial television service that could accommodate 12 digital TV channels.

According to the World DMB website, the DAB digital radio service uses the more modern DAB+ standard and the test transmissions currently involve two Radio Gibraltar services on each of the DAB+ multiplexes on channels 12B and 12C.

Very little is currently known about the future plans for digital terrestrial television in Gibraltar and how the digital switchover will pan out. As reported here in May, 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.

Speculatively, the service could provide an alternative method of receiving UK television, given the recent changes to satellite transmission footprints, restricting access to some services in the Western Mediterranean. Local broadcaster GBC used to provide access to BBC Prime (now BBC Entertainment) in the 1990s  - technically, the full set of commercially funded BBC international channels could now be accommodated on digital terrestrial TV alongside any other broadcaster that wanted to be represented on the service.

Digital Switchover to reach Gibraltar (, 10/05/2012)
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