Memorandum submitted by Channel M
1. The draft Communications Bill states
that the Government needs to enable OFCOM to licence digital local
television services. (126.96.36.199). In defining local television services,
the draft Bill states "Local television services are defined
as services which are to be included on digital multiplexes"
2. This proposal will take over from the
current restricted service licence. At this stage there is no
post switch-over plan for restricted service licencesbut
most of the licences will expire before the beginning of the government's
switch-over window of 2006-2010.
3. Consequently, an interim solution is
required to provide an effective bridge between existing analogue
local television services and the proposed digital local television
services. A number of amendments are required to the existing
a. The duration of the RSL should be increased
to eight years, in line with similar small scale licences for
local commercial radio.
b. The provision of frequencies for the local
television service should be given higher prioritythe same
as the other five free-to-air, public services (BBC1, BBC2, ITV1,
Channel 4, Channel 5).
c. Digital cable should be subject to a must-carry
rule for local television services licenced by the Independent
d. Adequate digital capacity should be allocated
to local television servicesa detailed plan should be included
in the Communications Bill indicating the capacity to be made
available to local television services.
Channel M is a local television service for
Manchester with a four year restricted service licence from the
ITC. The channel was launched in early 2000it is a joint
venture between the Guardian Media Group, City Broadcasting Ltd.,
and the University of Salford Faculty of Media and Performance.