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Minister unveils major expansion plans for digital radio

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, has announced the single biggest expansion of local digital radio coverage, enabling nearly eight million more people to receive their favourite local radio stations on DAB “loud and clear”.

Speaking at a conference held by Digital Radio UK and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders at BBC Broadcasting House, Ed Vaizey explained that almost two thirds of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard and that 182 new digital transmitters will be built by 2016 – a doubling of the UK’s network of local digital transmitters and increasing coverage of local DAB from 72 per cent to 91 per cent, in line with commercial radio FM coverage.

The Minister told the conference: “Digital radio is the future of radio in the UK and I am delighted that Government has been able to play its part in this major expansion which will help accelerate the transition to digital radio.”

The new transmitters are being jointly funded by the Government, the BBC and the commercial multiplex operators. Work to deliver the infrastructure – which forms part of the Government’s long-term economic plan – starts in March and will be completed by the end of 2016.

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio, added: “The BBC is playing its part in the development of digital radio across the UK. We are completing the expansion of the BBC national DAB network to 97 per cent of the population this year and contributing funding to expand local DAB coverage thereby ensuring listeners can receive local BBC stations on DAB.”