Ofcom must press on with long term small scale DAB licensing

At approximately 04:20 this morning our Portsmouth DAB+ multiplex went off the air. The reason for it going off air is frustratingly the same as most of our other outages we’ve had over the past year – the internet connection at our transmission site. I’d really like to ditch our ISP (Silverlining Convergence) and invest in a traditional broadband line. However the cost of installation and then the minimum contract period is simply not financially viable considering that our licence is currently rolled-over on a month to month basis by Ofcom.

I urge Ofcom to press ahead with licensing small scale DAB multiplexes as soon as possible. With a long term licence, we can make long term investment. We can give a consistent experience for listeners. Over the last four and a half years, the 10 trial multiplex operators have demonstrated that the technology behind small scale DAB is reliable, they have technically innovated and have provided consumers with a broad spectrum of services and formats.

I know that here in Portsmouth, Ofcom will advertise a licence that anyone can apply for, there is no automatic right for Angel Radio to keep the multiplex licence. I understand that. What small scale DAB needs from Ofcom is certainty. Ofcom still haven’t published a statement response to the small scale DAB consultation that closed in October 2019, even though they said they would in early 2020.

As a charity, it would be reckless for Angel Radio to make any long term financial commitments now without having a long term licence in place. Our service providers want the same clarity too. Therefore, I urge Ofcom to press ahead with the proper licencing of small scale DAB multiplexes as a matter of urgency.

Ash Elford
Digital Development Manager, Angel Radio