Service Providers

On this page, we have set out information that we think is pertinent if you wish to be a service provider on any MuxCo multiplex.  We have also attempted to answer a number of frequently asked questions that we tend to be asked.

What does  a multiplex operator do?
A multiplex operator is like a landlord that owns a large house and rents out rooms to other people.  Some tenants may want the grand room at the front of the house, whilst others are satisfied having the box room at the back.  Other tenants may want a number of rooms because they want different themes in each.  The service providers on a multiplex (or radio stations) are just like the tenants; they pay the landlord (in our case us, the multiplex operator) a fee to broadcast.

What capacity does one need to broadcast?
A bit like the size of rooms in our house, this depends on what each service provider wishes and varies according to whether they wants to broadcast in the original DAB, in mono or stereo or in the newer flavour of digital radio, DAB+.

For the original DAB, stereo services can operate at 112kbit/s, 128kbit/s, 160kbit/s and 192kbit/s.  Stereo services can also operate at 96kbit/s if using half-rate sampled audio. Mono services can operate at 96kbit/s, 80kbit/s and 64kbit/s.  Speech only services may also operate at 48kbit/s if using half-rate sampled audio.

For the newer DAB+ we tend to offer 32kbit/s or 48kbit/s for services.

Bandwidth which is available to be contracted is subject to the current Ofcom licensing regime.

How much does it cost to buy capacity?
This depends on the multiplex area and its coverage.  Capacity is sold a ratecard with a standard fee for a 112 kbit stereo service.  The fee is then adjusted according to the actual capacity required by the radio station, and hours broadcast etc.

The total fees charged comprise three elements:

  • Basic Capacity Charge: This is the basic fee for capacity
  • Telecoms Contribution: If the service is generated more than a certain distance from the area of transmission, an additional telecoms charge is payable (on a per KM basis)
  • Advance Payment: An advance fee is payable upon signing of a contract.  This Advance is used to offset fees payable in the last year of the contract

Fees are collectable by Direct Debit.

Are there any other charges?
There may be some additional installation costs which some service provider may incur.  Any such costs would be agreed with the service provider prior to any costs being committed.

In addition, if a service provider wishes to amend their contract (such as a change to the studio location, changes to DLS etc), an administration fee may be charged.

Who can broadcast?
Anyone who holds a relevant digital licence from Ofcom is able to broadcast on a multiplex (subject to contract and enough capacity being available).  We wish for each multiplex to broadcast a wide range of services to that provide listener choice, and cater for different tastes and interests.  The multiplexes will broadcast a mix of existing FM and AM stations that broadcast in that areas and a number of digital only services.

Prospective service providers will be asked to complete a short standard questionnaire, providing information on themselves, the proposed service and their ability to maintain the service.

Will MuxCo extend coverage?
In our licence applications we set out the transmitter that we plan to operate at launch, transmitters that we are committed to launch during the licence term and also further transmitters that we may launch.  Transmission plans do change – we may not be able to launch originally planned transmitters  due to planning issues or other obstacles, and this can affect our future plans.  What ever happens, though, we are always in contact with Ofcom and have to gain their agreement before making any changes.

I want to be a service provider.  How do I apply?
In the first instance, just fill in this form and we’ll contact you with more information.