Government invites companies to bid to run Plymouth TV station
THE Government is inviting firms to bid to run Plymouth's new local TV station.
Ofcom wants to hear from applicants for the licence to run the new service, which is expected to launch on air as early as next year.
Plymouth is one of the first 21 areas across to the UK to be given the opportunity to have its own local TV station.
It is part of a Government plan to set up a network of town- and city-based television channels.
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The BBC has agreed to make available up to £40million for local TV purposes and will be responsible for administering the funding.
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport, said: "I hope to see some really exciting bids in Plymouth for its new TV channel.
"Local TV will not only create jobs but it will also provide communities with news and content that is relevant to their daily lives."
Potential operators now have until August 13 to apply to Ofcom for a licence.
The quango will award the licence based on a set of criteria including: provision of local news and current affairs; proposals for programmes; planned launch date; and viability of the business plan.
Plymouth was selected as one of the first 21 areas, based on having sufficient levels of interest from potential operators and being technically capable of receiving a local TV service.
Ofcom is also seeking applicants to hold a TV multiplex licence, with the winning applicant responsible for providing the broadcast infrastructure for all the local TV services.
The competition for the multiplex licence is open to both commercial and not-for-profit bids.
The holder of the multiplex licence will have to promote local TV and offer good quality coverage and transmission.
It cannot recover carriage costs greater than the costs of transmission from each local TV service.
Once up and running, the local TV service will be broadcast on Freeview and available to the majority of households within the transmitter area.