Government agrees to extend local digital radio coverage

Good news for those of you who still can't get DAB radio – the UK Government has today agreed to extend local digital radio coverage.

At the same time, it has also confirmed that it will make a decision on the date for final digital radio switchover in 2013. Before then, local DAB coverage must be increased.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey says: "This is a positive and significant step forward for the future of digital radio in the UK. As more and more listeners make the switch to digital, it's vital that we keep on increasing the areas able to receive a digital signal. Government, the BBC and commercial operators are working together to make sure this happens."

The Government, BBC and commercial radio operators have signed a joint agreement, establishing the framework for up to £21m of investment in the country's DAB radio infrastructure.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishes an "agreement in principle" to fund the expansion of local DAB coverage to equal FM coverage over the next five years, with a commitment to consider further funding if necessary.

The MoU also paves the way for the launch of at least five new multiplexes, including in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, which will provide new local digital radio services to around 1.25 million people.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.