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Beyond 90%: local DAB multiplex coverage expansion continues

In its last update of the year, Ofcom has provided an insight as to how the expansion of the UK DAB digital radio network has been progressing in the final weeks of 2016.

Following the completion of the local DAB multiplex in Kent, additional transmitters to boost coverage have been confirmed as now being live for local multiplexes serving Leicestershire, Peterborough and Shropshire, boosting coverage of local radio stations carried on DAB. Earlier this year, local DAB coverage broke through the 90% coverage target set for local digital radio multiplexes, up from 77.8% in 2015.

Additional fillers for the BBC and the commercial Digital 1 multiplexes are also confirmed to ensure a stable signal in areas where local DAB coverage has been boosted.

The latest additions to the Ofcom database are listed below, with grid reference and effective radiated power. Due to the way data is published, there can be a significant gap between transmitters going live and the data appearing in official documentation. Sites that have only just gone live may not yet be officially listed. The data listed below reflects those transmitters added to the Ofcom database between 09/12/2016-22/12/2016. a516digital previously reported the arrival of DAB multiplexes from the sites in Humberside and Kent listed below.

BBC National DAB mux:
low power fillers to combat loss of reception caused by local multiplexes launching on adjacent frequencies
Rye (NGR TQ904198) 0.2 kW
Rhosfach Farm (NGR SJ266318) 0.25 kW
Scunthorpe VHF (Trent View House) (NGR SE882092) 0.6 kW
Shepshed Nook (NGR SK488190) 0.06kW

Digital 1 mux:
low power fillers to combat loss of reception caused by local multiplexes launching on adjacent frequencies
Shepshed Nook (NGR SK488190) 0.06 kW
Turnpike Hill (NGR TR154344) (0.01 kW)

Humberside multiplex:
Scunthorpe VHF (NGR SE882092) 1.0 kW

Kent multiplex:
Turnpike Hill (NGR TR154344)  0.1 kW

Leicestershire multiplex:
Shepshed Nook (NGR SK488190) 0.6 kW

Peterborough multiplex:
Peterborough Stoke Doyle (NGR TL021913) 0.6 kW

South Hampshire multiplex:
Fort Widley  (NGR SU657064) 0.5 kW

Wolverhampton & Shropshire multiplex
Rhosfach Farm (NGR SJ266318) 0.64 kW

a516digital has received confirmation that a small number of local DAB multiplex transmitter sites are still to go live in the first quarter of 2017, subject to usual caveats regarding technical issues and weather conditions. The 90% local DAB coverage target was linked to the Government's digital radio switchover criteria, which will feed in to any future decision to switch to digital radio.