In December last year, Ofcom announced their proposals for awarding the first round of local TV licences in 20 areas across the UK, including Belfast.
Ofcom has now confirmed that Belfast will be one of the first areas to have its own local TV station. The application process for the local TV licence in Belfast is now open and any prospective candidates can apply through the dedicated portal on the Ofcom website: http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/tv-broadcast-licences/local/
As well as Belfast, Ofcom is also initially licensing local TV stations in 20 other areas: Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea.
Licenses will be for a 12 year term. As well as broadcasting on Digital Terrestrial Television (Freeview), local TV channels may choose to offer their services on satellite, cable and online.
Ofcom is also inviting applications for an operator to provide the masts and transmission equipment to broadcast into people’s homes across these locations. The multiplex operator will be required to cover all of the 21 areas chosen and to propose which areas additionally to cover; they can select from 44 other areas where coverage is technically possible or make a case for other areas to be added. If the successful multiplex operator is able to provide coverage beyond these initial locations, then local TV services could be extended to cover more areas in the UK and would form a second phase of licensing.
What is the process of applying for a licence?
For further information please visit the Ofcom website.