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Both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom continue to move forward with their respective DAB digital radio rollouts.
In the Netherlands, the application procedure for a new national commercial DAB+ network (Layer 7) starts Jan. 19, 2021. The new network is part of the large-scale redistribution of the DAB+ networks in the Netherlands that will take place in the coming years.
A total of 12 licenses are available. If more requests come in, there will be a possible auction in the summer.
Due to the reorganization of the various networks, for which the DAB+ taskforce delivered its final report in April 2019, a new layer has now been created so that this national DAB+ network can broadcast on the same channel almost everywhere in the Netherlands. This will be channel 9C. Another channel (5A, 7B or 8C) may only be used temporarily in South Limburg, because the coordination for 9C has not yet been completed there.
The submission deadline for Level 7 applications is Feb. 15, 2021. According to authorities, if they receive more than 12 applications, there will be an auction for the permits later in the year. They say it will take place through a “discrete clock auction with exit bids,” and each participant must put in a deposit of 50,000 euros, with purchasing capped at four licenses per party.
Candidates who receive one or more permits must sign a collaboration agreement for the rollout of the network within 12 weeks. In addition, the network must be operational within nine months after receipt of the permit, with a start planned for 2022.
After one year, the network must have at least 65% outdoor and 55% indoor coverage. After three years, this must be increased to 85% outdoor and 65% indoor, and a year later, 90% outdoor and 75% indoor coverage must be achieved. The licenses will be valid for 12 years.
UK Small-Scale DAB
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Ofcom has published a list of small-scale radio multiplex license applicants.
Ofcom explains that it awards this type of license in a competitive process, where applications are judged against specific statutory criteria.
The broadcast authority invites comments on the applications. The closing date for comments is Jan. 31, 2021, and can be emailed to smallscaleDAB@ofcom.org.uk.