The Government today identified 65 towns and cities across the UK which could host new local TV stations from 2014.
It is now up to businesses and community groups across the country to put together bids to run the publicly-subsidised services, the first of which are set to start transmitting in in the third quarter of 2013.
According o Department of Culture Media and Sport up to 20 ‘pioneer’stations could be granted licences in the first wave of local TV. However, investment banker Nicholas Shott recommended in a government study last year that the existing funding structure would support between 10 and 12 local TV stations be set up around conurbations in the first wave of local TV.
The stations will transmit on freeview Channel 6 and via the internet to TV sets, once the technology for IPTV is in place.
The stations will benefit from £25m of initial funding taken from the BBC licence fee to fund the broadcasting infrastructure. And they will also receive £5m a year for three years from 2014 from the BBC, which will be obliged to spend that much on acquiring content from the new stations.
Local TV has been driven by secretary of state for culture Jeremy Hunt.
He said: ‘These new, local TV services will be a fundamental change in how people get information about their own communities, and how they hold their representatives to account.
‘There’s a huge appetite for local news and information in communities the length and breadth of the country. I want people to be able to watch television that’s truly relevant to them, about what’s happening where they live and featuring the people they know.
‘The first licences will be open to bidders in just a few months. But before then, we need to decide which areas are best placed to pioneer the new service. In deciding the order in which licences should be made available, we need to judge the level of interest from potential broadcasters and audiences, and take the views of companies interested in bidding for the single multiplex licence.”
The Government is also inviting bids to run the new broadcasting infrastructure, or multiplex, which is being called MuxCo.
The DCMS said that the initial list of potential locations will be narrowed down to 20 contenders for the new local TV licences by the end of the year.
Here are the 65 possible locations for local TV services:
East of England: Bedford, Cambridge, Norwich.
East Midlands: Notttingham.
North East: Middlesbrough, Newcastle.
North West: Burnley, Carlisle, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston.
South East: Basingstoke, Brighton and Hove, Dover, Guildford, Haywards Heath, Hemel Hempstead, London, Luton, Maidstone, Oxford, Reading, Reigate, Southampton, Tonbridge.
South West: Barnstaple, Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth, Poole, Salisbury.
West Midlands: Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Hereford, Kidderminster, Malvern, Shrewsbury, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon, Telford.
Yorkshire & Humberside: Grimsby, Keighley, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield, York.
Scotland: Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Edinburgh, Elgin, Falkirk, Glasgow, Greenock, Inverness.
Wales: Bangor, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, Mold, Swansea.
Northern Ireland: Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Limavady.