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Commons Library Analysis of the Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill 2016-17

Published Thursday, February 2, 2017

This Commons Library Briefing Paper looks at the Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill 2016-17.

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The Broadcasting (Radio Multiplex Services) Bill 2016-17 is a Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Kevin Foster on 4 July 2016. The Bill had its second reading on 13 January 2017. It was not amended in Public Bill Committee (31 January) and will have its remaining stages on 3 February 2017.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is supporting the Bill and has prepared Explanatory Notes.

In the UK, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio services are broadcast as “multiplexes”. This means that sound signals from a number of individual radio stations are combined together and transmitted as digital data.

At present, up to 400 local commercial and community radio stations are not carried on the DAB digital radio platform. This is the problem that the Bill seeks to address.

Ofcom regulates DAB multiplex services under Part 2 of the Broadcasting Act 1996 (as amended by the Communications Act 2003).

The Bill, which has one substantive clause, would give the Secretary of State the power to amend the conditions for DAB multiplex licensing in order to “create a new, lighter touch regulatory framework appropriate for the licensing of small scale (DAB) radio multiplexes”.

The Bill would extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7861

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Broadcasting

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