In a speech today to broadcasting executives at the Oxford Media Convention, Hunt is due to say that the initial local TV coverage will be focused on "10 to 12" major cities.
The minister wants to create a new UK-wide channel on digital terrestrial television (Freeview) to act as a "spine" for local services, mixing national programming with locally-focused content.
In the speech, Hunt will say: "To make this vision a reality I am today inviting existing and new media providers to come forward with suggestions as to how this network channel - or local TV 'spine' - could work.
"For consumers what this will mean is a new channel dedicated to the provision of local news and content. One that will sit alongside other public service broadcasters, offering a new voice for local communities, with local perspectives that are directly relevant to them."
He will add: "We will not be prescriptive. We will wait for the necessary technical assessment to be completed and we will listen to the commercially viable proposals that come forward. Our goal is to be able to award the relevant licences by the end of 2012, and for local TV to be up and running soon after."
Hunt will also today reveal his action plan for local TV towards the aim of creating a US-style network of vibrant local services, in which cities and regions have their own news and entertainment coverage.
Under the plan, the new channel will use a network affiliate model offering guaranteed opt-outs at selected times of the day for a range of local services to be supported.
The culture secretary will consider extending legislation to ensure the new local TV channel can "sit alongside other public service broadcasters" on Freeview electronic programme guides (EPG). Options will further be investigated for imposing "must carry" obligations on Sky and Virgin Media to increase the reach of the channel.
Last month, an advisory panel run by Lazards investment banker Nicholas Shott indicated that local TV would only be viable in around 10 or 12 of the UK's largest cities, starting on Freeview but ultimately moving to IPTV platforms.
Shott also estimated that a network of 10 local TV services would have a combined cost base of £25m, meaning £5m would have to come from local advertising and a further £15m from national advertising. The BBC would be required to make up the remaining £5m by providing local content.
However, former BBC director general Greg Dyke recently claimed that local TV would be commercially viable in at least 60 areas of the UK, largely because the services would "be cheaper to run than Shott believes".