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Bidders invited for seven more local TV channels

Potential operators of local TV stations in seven towns and cities are being invited to submit their bids to win licences.

Media regulator Ofcom has opened applications for the initial part of the second phase of local TV licensing, which will include 30 locations in total.

The seven locations which are now open for applications are Bangor, Cambridge, Middlesbrough, Mold, Scarborough, Swansea and York.

The second phase of licensing comes after the first part saw 19 licences handed out last autumn and earlier this year to places including Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Sheffield.

This saw a number of regional newspapers become involved in local TV, including Archant which will run a channel for Norwich and the Oxfordshire Guardian which is involved in the station for Oxford.

In January this year, Ofcom awarded the licence to Comux UK to operate the local TV ‘multiplex’ to provide the transmission for each new station.

Earlier this year, the media regulator invited expressions of interest for the 30 locations which make up the second stage and said it received 94 responses from 40 different organisations.

A statement from Ofcom said: “Following the high level of interest, Ofcom intends to advertise the remaining phase two locations over the course of the next year.

“Licensing the channels in stages will minimise the length of time between applications being submitted and licence awards being made.”

The closing date for applications for the first seven locations is 11 September and the regulator said some channels could be on air by the end of 2014.

Ofcom is also considering on the possibility of merging two of the 30 locations to create two single licences.

It has launched a consultation about merging Tonbridge and Maidstone, and Hereford and Gloucester.

For information on applying, click here.