Ofcom update on coverage improvements and extensions for community radio services and licensing process

Ofcom has published details of giving existing community radio licensees an opportunity to apply to improve or extend their current licensed coverage area.

Following the statement on ‘Community Radio: future licensing and technical policy’ published on 28 April 2017, Ofcom is inviting applications for changes to the coverage of existing community radio services. Community radio services can apply for an improvement to existing coverage within the current licensed coverage area or, in specific circumstances, for an extension of the licensed coverage area.

Stations in all areas are eligible to apply. Coverage improvements or extensions are unlikely to be possible in every location, as some may lack frequencies or face interference.

Once applications have been received, Ofcom will examine frequency availability and outgoing interference as part of its assessment. Community radio is licensed using different frequencies to the extent they are available and unused by other radio services in different places, and is dependent on whether services cause harmful outgoing interference.

The closing date for applications for improvements is 23:59 on 31 July 2018 and for extensions to existing licensed coverage areas is 23:59 on 18 September 2018.

Separately Ofcom has also issued a statement updating potential new applicants about plans for a further invitation in the current round of community radio licensing, in the last quarter of 2018.

The areas for which Ofcom will invite applications will be drawn from the expressions of interest received. Ofcom will not invite applications for every area from which an expression of interest was received and Ofcom will use the priorities set out in the original ‘call for expressions of interest’ document to decide on the areas.

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