A new TV channel set up with the specific aim of running new local TV services today formally announced it would bid for the role.
Last month culture secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans for a network of up to 60 local services supported by a national ‘spine’.
Today Channel 6 announced it would bid to set up and run the national network channel as a backbone for local TV.
It said it would aim to launch the national network and around nine local affiliates on Freeview, cable and satellite in 2013, building to 39 by 2017.
Chief executive Richard Horwood said: “Jeremy Hunt’s Action Plan confirmed that the network/affiliate model of local TV services supported by a new, national Freeview channel funded by advertising is the best way to ensure a vibrant, financially viable future for local TV in the UK.
“British viewers are spoilt for choice with such a range of high quality TV channels broadcast on Freeview, satellite, and cable.
“Local TV has to offer compelling viewing of similar quality to appeal to viewers and advertisers.
“The support of a dedicated national network to share costs, maximize advertising revenues, and deliver an attractive schedule outside local service opt-outs is the only way proven to achieve this.”
Mr Horwood said Channel 6 would be entirely funded by advertising along with an initial investment from national and local partners, with no government subsidy.
Opinions differ within the industry as to the viability of the plan, with some experts predicting it will only work in the biggest conurbations.