400,000 households gain access to BBC DAB services

Arqiva's Client Director for the BBC, Paul Sexton & BBC Design & Engineering Distribution Manager, James Hamilton

The latest BBC DAB roll-out phase has completed with over 400,000 households added to national DAB coverage.

Communications infrastructure company Arqiva originally slipped the news in its results statement on 30th November, as reported here. Today, more information about the extent of the roll-out has been published.

In September, the BBC National DAB Fakenham transmitter was the last of the additional sites taken online during the past four years, providing improved reception of BBC National Radio in Norfolk, part of an area of the UK that has been more difficult to cover due to the nature of building a Single Frequency Network (SFN). It concluded the fourth phase of BBC DAB coverage, filling in many smaller gaps in coverage in both rural and urban areas.

This phase has added over 400,000 households (approx. 900,000 people) to the network and provided coverage on over 2,400km of motorways and A-roads. Overall population coverage for BBC National DAB has been increased from 93% to 97.6% as a result.
Paul Sexton, Client Director for the BBC at Arqiva, said:
“Turning on the final Phase 4 site is a significant milestone for Arqiva and for the BBC. Digital platforms now account for almost half of all radio listening in the UK and we are proud to play our part in delivering the roll out of the DAB network in the UK.
“As well as providing BBC National DAB coverage to nearly half a million extra households, the fact that we are covering more and more of the road network is equally important. DAB radio offers listeners more station choice and real time information on programmes. The completion of this network expansion will enable more people than ever to enjoy the BBC’s national DAB network.”

Digital radio listeners in many more areas can now enjoy the additional choice that digital radio brings, including BBC’s portfolio of digital-only stations including 1Xtra, 5 live sports extra, 6 Music, Radio 4 Extra, the Asian Network and World Service, as well as the BBC’s existing national radio stations - Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio 5 live.

At many sites, BBC National DAB roll-out took place in tandem with local DAB roll-out, with transmitter masts being equipped for both national and local services. Further expansion of DAB in the UK is awaiting a government decision on digital radio switchover, which is expected after digital radio listening hits 50% - something that industry insiders expect to be achieved very soon.

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  1. Would be interesting to know if Sound Digital Limited have any plans in the future to expand their National 2 DAB Network with more transmitters and power increases at some of their current transmitters to increase their coverage to over 75% of the UK that they currently transmit to. I can receive SDL's services from my location, LL11 postcode area but there's a lot of areas that receive BBC National and Digital 1 but not the National 2 service.