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MuxCo wins Surrey DAB, in line for Somerset

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MuxCo has been awarded the licence to operate the Surrey & Northern Sussex DAB multiplex.

The company, owned by National Grid Wireless and consultancy Folder Media, was set up to bid for local DAB multiplexes in collaboration with local radio groups.

Ofcom this week confirmed MuxCo Surrey & North Sussex - in which MuxCo is a 50% partner with the UKRD Group - had won the licence for that area, for which it was the only applicant.

The group will use four transmitters with an estimated outdoor coverage of 87.4%. Eight stations will be broadcast including BBC Southern Counties Radio from July next year at the latest.

The multiplex will also carry two stations currently offering similar music services in neighbouring areas - Guildford's 96.4 Eagle Radio and GCap's Mercury FM, which centres on Crawley. Initially Guildford (in the west) and Reigate and Crawley (further east) were advertised as separate multiplexes but Ofcom later decided to treat them as one.

> Further details of the Surrey & Northern Sussex Application

Meanwhile, a MuxCo collaboration has been named as the only applicant for the Somerset local DAB licence. MuxCo, UKRD and The Local Radio Company each own a third of MuxCo Somerset.

The group's proposal is to launch by September next year and carry BBC Somerset along with Star Radio, Ivel FM, Orchard FM, Quay West, Easy Radio, UCB UK and Traffic Radio.

Of 11 local DAB multiplexes in the current batch being licenced by Ofcom, eight have gone to MuxCo collaborations. Now Digital - a GCap Media venture - won Northamptonshire, Derbyshire & Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire & Buckinghamshire. In recent months GCap has retreated from further investment in DAB.

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