Media watchdog Ofcom has announced the next phase of plans to roll-out local TV, with the announcement of 28 further areas where licences will be issued.
The regulator has today revealed the locations across the UK where it will advertise local licences later this year, including Aberdeen, Cambridge, Hereford, Luton and Scarborough.
It comes after Ofcom announced the 12-year licence to operate the network “spine” for local TV had been awarded to Comux, a company set up by Canis Media.
The company has beaten off bidders including the BBC to run the network multiplex that the local TV stations will be broadcast on, which will be responsible for building and maintaining the technical infrastructure required.
Successful bidders have already been announced for most of the first 19 areas where local TV will be broadcast and some of these are expected to be on air by the end of the year.
Ministers want to see a nationwide network of local TV stations, some owned by local newspaper publishers, and Ofcom will now seek expressions of interest for 28 new areas later this year.
The 28 new locations are Aberdeen, Ayr, Bangor, Barnstaple, Basingstoke, Bedford, Bromsgrove, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derry/Londonderry, Dundee, Guildford, Hereford, Inverness, Kidderminster, Limavady, Luton, Maidstone, Malvern, Middlesbrough, Mold, Reading, Salisbury, Scarborough, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon, Tonbridge and York.
In May last year, Ofcom invited applications to run local TV services in 21 local areas and 57 applications in total were received for 19 locations, along with four applications for the local multiplex.
The regulator will also ask for final expressions of interest in Swansea and Plymouth where local licences were advertised last year but no applicants came forward.
The 19 initial areas where licences are being awarded are Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Preston, Sheffield and Southampton.
The successful bidders for 14 of these areas have already been announced, with the rest due in the next few months, and a number of regional publishers have formed partnerships which will see them involved in the new stations.