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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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