At first glance the multiplex does not seem as full as some of our recent applications with a transmission plan that does not cover the entire area. I just wanted to write a blog post that explained some of the reasons why this is the case and highlight the fact that what we have submitted is very much a starting point, with our objective to expand both the coverage and number of services over the licence term. Indeed, we will hopefully have some good news before the licence even goes on air.
Mid Wales, in particular, is not a an easy area to cover. Our estimates showed that to even begin making in-roads into this area, and starting to bring a service to the 150,000 people there, would require more than five transmitter sites. Due to a lack of interest from new services to cover this area, it meant that coverage would be uneconomical to commit to at this time. Indeed, we’re not sure that any traditional funding model would make it possible to bring any services to this area. We are however exploring a number of non-traditional options with our colleagues at the BBC to find a way to fund a roll-out to this area. As these plans have not been firmed up at this time, we put in a transmission plan that we knew we could deliver at launch.
Ideally we would also like to broadcast a number of additional stations in the area, both existing analogue and some new services too. Whilst we’ve had some good discussions with potential operators, we’re not yet in a place where we can guarantee that we will be bringing them to the area. Though saying that, we hope that we’ll have some announcements about new additions in the next few months.
When we started MuxCo we always new that some areas would take a little longer to sort out than others. Wales has not been in the fast track for development of digital broadcasting and as such has a much lower penetration of receivers – indeed, why buy one if you can’t pick up much! It will therefore take a little longer for new stations to have enough listeners to hit their business plan targets and that affects what we can announce today. What this definitley isn’t, is a result of any recent announcements from other operators, it is more finding the right model for the local players in the market at the right time.
So, please look at our application – transmitters, services and timings – as something we know we can deliver on day one, rather than what we hope we can deliver when the multiplex goes live. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.