BBC increases digital radio coverage in 2010
In 2010 the BBC launched 30 new national digital radio transmitters around the UK - increasing the availability of digital radio for an additional three quarters of a million people and improving DAB coverage for over 8.5 million people in the country. This builds on the commitment Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio and Music, made earlier last year to significantly improve DAB coverage in the UK in 2010/11.
In 2010 residents of the Rhondda Valley, Windermere, north Northamptonshire, Rochdale and Littleborough, the Sevenoaks Weald and north Kent and South Hams have been able to receive digital radio for the first time.
Scotland has seen a significant improvement in coverage for the BBC's UK-wide digital radio services with transmissions starting in Oban, Fort William, throughout Dumfries and Galloway, and into the north-east of the nation with coverage now throughout Aberdeenshire.
Meanwhile, five new transmitters for Northern Ireland have improved coverage across the province, extending the network into Enniskillen, Ballymena, Coleraine, and Larne, as well as improving reception for a fifth of the population with a new transmitter in north Belfast. As a result, the coverage of these services has leapt from 75% to 85% of Northern Ireland - with further improvements to come in 2011.
The roll-out is not only adding new areas into the coverage of the network but also improving reception for existing listeners in certain areas. In 2010, reception has been improved for households in Cornwall, Plymouth and Dartmoor; Aberdeen; Suffolk and north Essex; Dundee; Dumbarton and Helensbrough; Belfast; Fife; and London.
The roll-out will continue in 2011, with new transmitters for Saffron Walden, east Devon, Sunderland and High Wycombe due on-air in the first few weeks of the year. The BBC remains on target to meet its aim of DAB serving 92% of the population by the end of 2011.
Alix Pryde, Controller BBC Distribution, whose team have worked with transmission provider Arqiva to bring the transmitters on-air, says: "We're committed to guaranteeing access to the BBC's digital radio services and the roll-out of our DAB network is a key part of that. We've had a great year and are looking forward to a busy 2011, with a further forty transmitters to bring into service."