Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BBC reveals plans to expand digital radio coverage

More than a million additional people will soon be able to receive BBC national digital radio services under plans for a further expansion of the digital radio transmission network.The BBC is investing in a further 60 digital radio transmitters as part of its commitment to reach 90% of the UK population during this Charter period. This is the final part of a planned roll-out which started in 2008 and has which already resulted in more than 50 additional transmitters being added to the network.
Listeners in the areas will be able to tune in to the BBC's portfolio of digital-only stations as well as the BBC's existing national radio stations, and enjoy the benefits of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) with more choice and improved sound quality.Transmitters will be added both to bring coverage to areas without reception and to improve and reinforce reception where necessary. It is hoped to complete the roll-out by the end of 2011, with the first of the new transmitters coming on-air in the summer.
The plan includes:
- fifteen new transmitters for Scotland - including improvements in coverage for Glasgow and Dundee, and bringing coverage to both Shetland and the Western Isles for the first time
- ten new transmitters for Wales extending coverage through mid-Wales to Llandrindod Wells, across north Wales in Colwyn Bay, and improving coverage in south-west Wales to listeners in Pembroke and Carmarthen
- seven new transmitters for Northern Ireland - bringing digital radio to both Enniskillen and the North Antrim coast, as well as improving coverage in Belfast
- three new transmitters for Greater London and the Home Counties - boosting reception across the capital and providing - coverage to the Kent weald, as well as providing coverage to High Wycombe, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City
- nine new transmitters for the south west - including extensions of digital radio to Newquay and Bodmin, Tiverton and Teignmouth
- two new transmitters for Derbyshire, including one for Derby itself, and further new transmitters for Saffron Walden, Shaftesbury, Stroud, and Sunderland
The transmitters will come on-air as project work completes at each one. Local announcements will be made as transmitters are switched on, with the BBC keeping its list of transmitters on-air up-to-date at . The industry-wide DAB digital radio postcode checker will also be regularly updated to reflect new launches.
Tim Davie, the BBC's director of audio and music, said: "The BBC is fully committed to digital radio I'm delighted that we are now in a position to deliver on the BBC Trust's target to bring digital radio to 90% of the UK."
The BBC has five digital-only radio networks, all launched in 2002:
1Xtra - the best in new black music
5 Live sports extra - the home of live sport with exclusive coverage of live events
6 Music - the best of contemporary and classic rock and pop
Radio 7 - the best of BBC comedy, drama and books from the archive
Asian Network - news and music from the British Asian scene
- Listeners can also receive Radios 1 to 5 Live on DAB, along with more than 30 of the BBC's English local radio and nations services.
- The BBC's national digital radio coverage currently stands at around 86% of the UK population.- There are now more than 10 million DAB sets in the UK (GFK).
- Digital radios are available that offer users the opportunity to record and rewind their favourite programmes. Some DAB radios also offer an EPG letting users select and record their favourite programmes when they want.
- Digital radio offers improved reception and does not suffer from the interference and fading that can happen with AM and FM radio.
- Digital radio is a more efficient means of broadcasting. More networks can be transmitted, offering more choice for listeners.
- Digital radio can transmit text and data with the audio signal. A small screen on digital radios carries rolling text telling listeners what music they're listening to, who's being interviewed, and giving phone numbers and e-mail and website addresses.
- Digital radios are available from over 8,000 retail outlets across the UK and can also be bought on the internet.DAB digital radios are available from £25.
- Digital radio can also be received via digital television (satellite, cable and Freeview) and the Internet.
(Press Release)

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