BBC increases Digital Radio coverage in 2010
In 2010 the BBC launched 30 new national digital radio transmitters around the UK, increasing the availability of digital radio for an additional three quarters of a million people and improving DAB coverage for over 8.5 million people in the country.
This builds on the commitment Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio and Music, made earlier this year to significantly improve DAB coverage in the UK in 2010/11.
In 2010 residents of the Rhondda Valley, Windermere, north Northamptonshire, Rochdale and Littleborough, the Sevenoaks Weald and north Kent and South Hams have been able to receive digital radio for the first time.
Scotland has seen a significant improvement in coverage for the BBC’s UK-wide digital radio services with transmissions starting in Oban, Fort William, throughout Dumfries and Galloway, and into the north-east of the nation with coverage now throughout Aberdeenshire.
Meanwhile, five new transmitters for Northern Ireland have improved coverage across the province, extending the network into Enniskillen, Ballymena, Coleraine, and Larne, as well as improving reception for a fifth of the population with a new transmitter in north Belfast. As a result, the coverage of these services has leapt from 75% to 85% of Northern Ireland – with further improvements to come in 2011.
The roll-out is not only adding new areas into the coverage of the network but also improving reception for existing listeners in certain areas. In 2010 reception has been improved for households in Cornwall, Plymouth and Dartmoor; Aberdeen; Suffolk and north Essex; Dundee; Dumbarton and Helensbrough; Belfast; Fife; and London.
The roll-out will continue in 2011, with new transmitters for Saffron Walden, east Devon, Sunderland and High Wycombe due on-air in the first few weeks of the year. The BBC remains on target to meet its aim of DAB serving 92% of the population by the end of 2011.
Alix Pryde, Controller BBC Distribution, whose team have worked with transmission provider Arqiva to bring the transmitters on-air, says: “We’re committed to guaranteeing access to the BBC’s digital radio services and the roll-out of our DAB network is a key part of that. We’ve had a great year and are looking forward to a busy 2011, with a further 40 transmitters to bring into service.”
Tim Davie said: “It is excellent news that more listeners will be able to enjoy the full range of BBC services. Driving up national DAB coverage is an important part of building a digital future for radio.”
Notes to Editors
The BBC has five digital-only radio networks, all launched in 2002:
* 1Xtra – Radio 1Xtra – playing Xtra RnB, Xtra Hip Hop
* 5 Live Sports Extra – the home of live sport with exclusive coverage of live events
* 6 Music – celebrates the alternative spirit in popular music, from the Sixties to the current day
* Radio 7 – the best of BBC comedy, drama and books from the archive
* Asian Network – the sound of Asian Britain
Listeners can also receive Radios 1 to 5 Live (and World Service) 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 more than 88% of the UK population.
* There are now more than 12 million DAB sets in the UK (GFK).
* Digital Radio UK estimates that due to strong Christmas sales over two million digital radios will be sold during 2010, and estimates that a cumulative total of 20 million digital radios will be sold by the end of 2013.
* 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.
* DAB digital radios are available from £25 from a range of retailers.
* Digital radio can also be received via digital television (satellite, cable, FreeSat and Freeview) and the Internet.
* Listeners are advised to check their coverage by visiting bbc.co.uk/digital.
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