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Ofcom consults on proposals for DAB digital radio in South Wales

Mendip and Wenvoe masts: from where Cardiff local DAB could be broadcast from
The DAB digital radio multiplex serving the Cardiff and Newport area could be broadcast from the English side of the Bristol Channel and take on three stations from the soon-to-close regional multiplex, if proposals released on Friday by Ofcom are approved.

The proposal is part of a plan by multiplex operator Now Digital (Arqiva) to fill the void in South Wales when the Severn Estuary regional DAB multiplex closes at the end of July. According to the proposal, the current Cardiff and Newport multiplex would switch from its current frequency (VHF block 11C) to the frequency soon to be vacated by the regional multiplex - VHF block 12C on the 30th July 2013.

Transmitters currently broadcasting the Severn Estuary multiplex in Aberdare, Abergavenny, Ebbw Vale and from the English side of the Bristol Channel at the Mendip (Somerset) mast would cease transmitting the regional multiplex on the 29th July and start carrying the Cardiff and Newport DAB service, increasing the editorial coverage area of the multiplex into the Monmonth, Merthyr and Abergavenny area and some coastal areas where TV and radio reception is better from Mendip. Additionally, local DAB transmissions would switch from the Wenallt transmitter to the main transmitting site at Wenvoe. The move would have the side effect of making the multiplex more widely available in the Bristol area.

The proposal also sees Real Radio Wales, Heart and Nation Radio being given slots on the local DAB multiplex in order to maintain coverage of these stations in the area on DAB after the regional multiplex is closed. The multiplex currently carries Gold, Capital South Wales, Choice FM, BBC Radio Wales and Cymru, plus events station Pop Up Radio.

Ofcom are statutorily obligated to conduct a consultation on the matter. Listeners and stakeholders who want to view the proposals and comment on the consultation can do so via the Ofcom Consultations website. The consultation closes on the 19th July 2013.

Map showing outdoor coverage now and proposed coverage from 30th July 2013
Coverage is noticeably expanded northwards into the Valleys and beyond Newport to cover Chepstow and Monmouth.


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