Friday, 14 August 2009

Digital Britain: the Implementation Plan

The government has published the Implementation Plan for Digital Britain, setting out its action plans for the proposals made in June 2009's Final Report. These are the sections that directly concern the radio sector:


PROJECT 1: DIGITAL ECONOMY BILL
LEAD: Colin Perry

GOVERNANCE
- Bill Project Board oversees the delivery of the Bill. Members are David Hendon (BIS)/Jon Zeff (DCMS) - joint SROs, Carola Geist-Divver (DCMS legal), Eve Race and Jose Martinez-Soto (BIS legal), Colin Perry (Bill Team Leader), Laura Williams (secretariat)
- Bill Management Group tracks progress and drives delivery of the Bill. Members are Colin Perry (Bill Team Leader) chair, Deputy Directors BIS/DCMS, Carola Geist-Divver (DCMS legal), Eve Race and Jose Martinez-Soto (BIS legal), Laura Williams (secretariat). Other policy leads attend as appropriate.

ACTIONS COVERED FROM THE FINAL REPORT [exceprts]:
􀂃 Amending the Communications Act 2003 to make the promotion of investment in communications infrastructure and content one of Ofcom’s principal duties.

􀂃 Ensure the Board of Ofcom has a statutory obligation to write to the Government alerting Secretaries of State to any matters of high concern regarding developments affecting the communications infrastructure and in any event to write every two years giving an assessment of the UK’s communications infrastructure.

􀂃 Encouraging, where appropriate, adjoining radio multiplexes to merge and extending existing multiplexes into currently un-served areas rather than awarding new licences. Grant Ofcom powers to alter multiplex licences which agree to merge.

􀂃 We will make an amendment to the existing legislation to support a change in the localness regulatory regime to allow location in mini regions defined by Ofcom.

􀂃 Grant a further renewal for up to seven years of analogue radio licences for broadcasters which are also providing a service on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).

􀂃 Grant Ofcom new powers to insert a two year termination clause into all radio licences awarded or further renewed before the Digital Radio Upgrade date.


PROJECT 6: DIGITAL RADIO UPGRADE
LEAD: John Mottram

ACTIONS COVERED FROM FINAL REPORT [in full]:
􀂃 Develop Action Plan for Digital Radio Upgrade, including a Cost/Benefit Analysis.

􀂃 Invite Consumer Expert Group to extend its current scope to inform the development of the Digital Radio Upgrade.

􀂃 Facilitate the roll-out of the BBC’s national multiplex to ensure it achieves coverage comparable to FM by the end of 2014.

􀂃 Encourage, where appropriate, adjoining local multiplexes to merge and extend coverage into currently un-served areas. Grant Ofcom powers to alter multiplex licences which agree to merge.

􀂃 Allow for the extension of multiplex operators’ licences until 2030, if part of an agreed plan towards Digital Radio Upgrade.

􀂃 Consider with Ofcom the case for delaying the implementation of AIP on DAB multiplexes until after the Digital Radio Upgrade is completed.

􀂃 Grant Ofcom new powers to extend the licence period of all national and local licences, broadcasting on DAB, for up to a further seven years, although this decision will be kept under review. In addition, amend the rules under which Ofcom grants analogue licence renewals to ensure that regional stations which do become national DAB stations do not lose their current or future renewal.

􀂃 Grant Ofcom new powers to insert a two year termination clause into all licences awarded or further renewed before the Digital Radio Upgrade date.

􀂃 Work with broadcasters and vehicle manufacturers to implement the ‘Digital Radio in vehicles: a five point programme’.

􀂃 Agree with Ofcom a two-year pilot of a new output regulatory regime.

􀂃 Reduction in number of locally-produced hours in exchange for enhanced commitment to local news.

􀂃 Ofcom to consult on a new map of mini-regions which balances the potential economic benefits but also the needs and expectations of listeners. We will make an amendment to the existing legislation to support this change.

􀂃 Consultation seeking views on proposals for a new licence renewal regime for community radio. This consultation will include proposals to remove the 50% funding limit from anyone source and the restriction preventing a station being licensed in an area overlapping with a small commercial service and extending our commitment to promoting best practice within the community sector and encouraging self-sustainability by allocating a small portion of the Community Radio Fund to support the work of the industry body, the Community Media Association.

􀂃 Insert two year termination clause into all new licences.

􀂃 Grant Ofcom new powers to extend the licence period of all national and local licences, broadcasting on DAB, for up to a further seven years (keep this decision under review). If by the end of 2013 it is clear the Digital Radio Upgrade timetable will not be achieved we will use the powers, set out above, to terminate licences and the existing licensing regimes will apply.

􀂃 Amend the rules under which Ofcom grants analogue licence renewals to ensure that regional stations which do become national DAB stations do not lose their current or future renewal.

1 comment:

Wallis said...

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Margaret

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