Interested parties are invited to answer this questionnaire, after which we will discuss opportunities to contract for capacity for up to 28 days on each available multiplex.
Please fill in the questionnaire by 5pm on 31st March 2014
All contracts for capacity are subject to the availability of suitable capacity on each multiplex. If there are multiple expressions of interest, and more demand for capacity than is available, we will select services on the basis of ability to enter a standard carriage contract rather than first come basis.
We intend to notify interest parties in April.
Any questionnaire submissions that are received after the date specified above, will still be considered for a licence, but subject to capacity availability.
The fee to broadcast on any of the multiplexes will be £2,000+VAT for the 28 days, subject to contract, and you will be required to get your signal to the multiplex centre (which we can describe in more detail after submission of the form).
All successful service providers are reminded that they will need to hold the necessary DSP licence from Ofcom and comply with the requirements of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, in particular if they wish to broadcast charity appeals and must take reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the charity appeal organisation concerned can produce satisfactory evidence of charitable status, or, in the case of an emergency appeal, that a responsible public fund has been set up to deal with it. Further details can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/commercial-references-radio/.
We are currently on track for our December launch – below is a summary of progress:
BT circuits are in to the majority of service provider sites with work progressing to plan at others; we still read delivery dates a little cautiously given the delays experienced in other areas of the UK although Surrey has fared better in general. Interface equipment for studios is being built ready for delivery and installation. We are tentatively looking at installing the multiplex rack and having some live data running through the systems in mid-November.
On the transmitter side there is lots underway:
Telemetry circuit delivery planned 25/10/13
Build to commence first week of November
Commissioning requested w/c 18th November
Telemetry Circuit complete
Decommissioning of existing racks completed this week
Ofcom published an interesting report today, based on a technical trial it has carried out, about the opportunity of operating small, single-site, low powered digital radio multiplexes.
An Ofcom associate from its Spectrum Planning Group used off-the-shelf technology and open-source software to assemble and broadcast a multiplex to cover part of Brighton. According to the report the tests went very well and open up the option of mini-muxes, covering similar areas to small ILRs or community stations.
It’s still quite a way away from being deployed in the wild, as there would need to be significant frequency planning into likely availability and discussions about where it fits from a regulatory-basis.
The multiplexes that we broadcast are quite different to the one trialed in Brighton – we cover much larger areas (the size of the local BBC and main ILR stations) – broadcasting from many different transmitter sites at higher signal strengths. We think this works well as it means more people can hear a service if it broadcasts over a larger area and also supports listeners as they drive across an area listening in-car.
However, for some smaller operators who want a digital berth, particularly for fixed in-home listening, but don’t want to (or aren’t able) to be on a county-wide multiplex, we think this concept sounds like a good idea.
We think it’s important that as we approach a digital switchover, that lots of stations have the chance to be on DAB – this seems an interesting route for some to start their journey.
Here’s another update on the progress for our Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex.
We’re pleased to announce that we now have transmitters installed and powered at two of our three sites – Wrexham Rhos and Moel-y-Parc. In addition, the steel work for the mast to support the antenna has been delivered to St John’s Beacon and is awaiting fitting. We’re pushing to get as much done as possible on masts before the seasonal “freeze” on planned work around the Christmas period.
This week also sees multiplexer bay and equipment delivered to our transmission HQ in London and we’re finalising the configuration details. This includes kbit/s, labels, links to FM (where needed) and several other variables to ensure stations present in the way they and their listeners would like.
We’ve also started hooking up service providers to the network, with three down and three more to go.
The transmitter builds are progressing but telecoms delays continue to hamper our ability to currently announce a launch date.
More positively, we’re excited to see our multiplexers commissioned and installed into the rack. Here are a couple of pictures. You can see that there are two IPCs – one is the main and one is the backup; they’re otherwise identical. The multiplexing software is loaded up and all the information on the services is programmed in. The other things in the rack are GPS clocks and routers. This is the heart of our multiplex and we can’t wait to bring the whole thing to life as soon as we can.
Work continues for the launch, here’s a quick update of where things stand.
Our transmitters are arriving in the UK this week and installation will commence immediately. Given the time of the year, weather issues will always remain a variable in the build timetable. The multiplexer (the software that multiplexes the audio) is built and expected to be in place in the next two weeks.
It’s disappointing that delays to some telecoms provision mean that we can’t yet provide a firm date for our launch. We do, however continue to push forwards and hope to be able to provide more information soon.
I am excited to have joined the team at Muxco and have spent some time over the last couple of weeks getting up to speed with the forthcoming launches, which I will be overseeing. Matt has suggested I post on here periodically to keep those who are interested up to speed with the process.
As a priority I shall be getting to know the service providers on our planned multiplexes and ensuring they are informed and happy about the process to launch. There are some regulatory loose ends being tied up too, to ensure we are making the best use of the available spectrum.
I have overseen lots of DAB multiplex launches but the regulatory and industry landscape changes every year (or every month at the moment), and no two multiplexes are exactly the same. Having said that, if these launches are anything like the ones that have gone before, I am fully expecting the following – speaking generally:
The first wave of work will be a flurry of requests for maps, contact details and contracts.
There will be an agonising wait to build a key transmitter, as local councillors argue whether its marginally more pointy tip significantly bespoils the local landscape.
There will be some sort of wait on International Clearance on a transmitter which mildly oversteps the boundaries of the Reserved Assignment List as our European chums decide to sit on our request in return for the fact they didn’t get as many complimentary pens as the British at RRC06.
Just as the radio stations are all hooked up there will be a last minute change of address for one of our services meaning a wheelbarrowful of equipment will need to be run around the corner and reinstalled at midnight.
There will be anxious posts on forums wondering why test transmissions haven’t started. The minute they do, the fact that the services are not in alphabetical order on the ensemble will be noted.
There will be a typo on the configuration documents which will be spotted before it goes live, saving a Country Music service from having a contracted 8 character name which breaks the broadcasting code and offends my mother.
You are welcome to email me with any queries and I will do my best to respond as we go along.
Its the 6th June and the sun is shining, so hopefully this now marks the start of summer. For us it mark’s the closing date for applications for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire multiplex, something MuxCo Hereford & Worcester Ltd has submitted its application for.
Behind the bid, alongside us, are Town & Country and local radio man (and the theme tune writer for Gladiators no-less), Muff Murfin. It was an interesting licence area to plan, covering a number of urban areas and also a lot of green space, so it was a little more complex getting the transmitter network right.
We have included an interesting selection of new radio formats to complement the existing local services of Wyvern FM, Sunshine and the BBC, ranging from an interactive youth service, Shuffle, to a classic rock station called Smithy Rock, and a new local speech station too – Local Live. I won’t bore you here with all the detail but you will find a copy of the application online here. In the meantime, its off to the pub for a well earned drink and to think about the next project. As always, please send us your views and comments to [email protected].