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Comux UK awarded Local TV multiplex operator's licence

Canis Media backed Comux UK has been successful in its bid to run the local TV multiplex, which will host a new wave of local TV channels across the UK. 

Ofcom awarded the 12 year operator's licence to the organisation earlier today, in a long awaited announcement that was originally due in the autumn.

The new local TV multiplex will launch wherever there is a licensed local TV service, and will enable viewers to receive their local TV station via Freeview, plus two additional channels. Freeview channel 8 has been assigned by Digital UK for local TV services in England and Northern Ireland, while services in Scotland and Wales have been assigned channel 45.

The first batch of local TV channels are expected to launch by the end of the year.
Comux recently published its plans as part of its application to run the multiplex, to boost coverage of local TV in London by using transmission antenna at the top of the Crystal Palace TV mast and not half-way up as originally proposed by Ofcom and transmitter company Arqiva. 

See Also Comux outlines technical details of its local TV mux bid (17/01/2013) >

Responding to the news, Comux UK founder, Canis Media’s Chief Executive Ed Hall said: "I'm delighted that we will be playing such an important role in what is one of the most exciting changes to the UK's TV landscape for many years.

"I believe that we won because our innovative cooperative structure maximises the chance of success for each and every local TV franchise holder. I’m now looking forward to building the infrastructure and particularly excited to see the first local TV services on-air. This really is a step-change; previously local TV has been limited to a handful of cities but soon there will be up to 60 towns and cities with their own local channel. This revolutionises how the UK’s local communities are served by TV."

Under Comux, day-to-day management of the multiplex will be outsourced to suppliers and operate under the jurisdiction of an experienced board.

According to Comux UK, it will "co-ordinate and manage the commercial resale of available bandwidth to third parties and other licensees, with profits from this activity being paid annually as dividends to each licensee. A charitable trust will be created to fund projects and initiatives that are vital for the continued success of local television, but that no government or single local broadcaster is likely to want to fund."

Other applicants for the multiplex licence were Avanti, whose supporters lobbied Ofcom intensively in the run up to the decision, LTM and the BBC's LMux Ltd. Licence fee money has been earmarked for the set up of local TV in the UK by the Government.

See Also: 

Local TV locations, frequencies and service names  >
Local TV could arrive in more locations >

This is an updated version of the article, first published at 10:35, 28/01/2013


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