Ofcom has published its Plan of Work for 2021/22, outlining its priorities for the next financial year.
High-quality, reliable communications services have been more important than ever throughout the last year. These services will continue to be an essential part of people’s lives as the UK emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and for years to come.
Following consultation including a series of public events, Ofcom has set out its strategic priorities for the coming year.
Several stakeholders, including the Community Media Association and Leicester Community Radio and their listeners requested that Ofcom undertake a round of FM community radio licensing. Some of these stakeholders urged Ofcom to consider local needs, Small Scale DAB (SSDAB) rollout progress, coverage areas of SSDAB, and areas where SSDAB might not be sustainable.
Ofcom responded that they are not currently planning any further analogue community radio licensing whilst they continue the process to license small-scale DAB. “We believe that small-scale DAB represents an appropriate use of spectrum, meeting demonstrable demand from community radio, smaller commercial radio stations and new entrants for an affordable pathway to terrestrial digital radio. This, in turn, will help to ensure the continued availability of a diverse range of radio services across the United Kingdom, on a platform which accounts for an increasing amount of radio listening”.