Off-air Winchester DAB multiplex owner requests change of area and transmitter site

The new owner of the Winchester small-scale DAB multiplex has requested a change of transmitter site in order to get the service back on-air.

The new site would decrease coverage in Winchester itself, and add parts of Eastleigh, a town to the south of Winchester, to the proposed coverage map.

Because of this, Ofcom says the change is significant and is a material loss with regards to the population coverage of Winchester.

Therefore a consultation has been launched.

Ofcom points out the benefits of having a reduced service on-air rather than no service at all and would like to receive views and comments on the issues raised in this document, by 5pm on Tuesday 30 January 2024.

The licence to provide the Winchester small-scale multiplex was awarded to UK DAB Networks Limited in March 2021. The licence was granted and the service came on air in September 2022. The original licensee went into voluntary liquidation on 9 November 2023.

The broadcast assets were subsequently acquired from the liquidator by Winchester DAB Limited, and the licence was transferred, following application to Ofcom, on 22 November 2023. Whilst the new licensee initially continued to broadcast according to the technical plan appended to the licence, Winchester DAB Limited was unable to negotiate continued use of the existing transmission site with its owner and the service ceased broadcasting on 24 November.