The Government has revealed that it plans to relax cross-media ownership rules covering the regional press by November this year and have licensing rules in place for a new network of local TV stations by November 2011.
The Structural Reform Plan for the Department of Culture Media and Sport reveals that the first local TV station licenses will be in place by summer 2012 and that up to 20 new local TV stations should be in place by the end of the current Parliament in 2015.
The Coalition Government scrapped Labour proposals to use up to £130m of BBC licence fee cash to fund new local news consortia, to replace regional news on ITV. Instead it believes deregulation of ownership rules will encourage the creation of a new network of city-based TV stations.
The DCMS has also laid out a time-frame for stripping Ofcom of much of its responsibility and putting forward a new Commmuications Bill.