Transmission services group Arqiva has won a £1.8bn contract to design, build and operate a new digital terrestrial television (DTT) network for the BBC. In addition, Arqiva will also build and operate additional transmitters to expand the corporation's DAB digital radio network.
The new high-power DTT infrastructure will replace both the current low-power DTT network and—on a region-by-region basis between 2008 and 2012—the BBC's analogue TV network. Arqiva will manage the DTT service until 2031 while the DAB contract runs until 2023. The BBC's two public service DTT multiplexes will be broadcast via all 1,154 existing transmitter sites, delivering digital TV to 98.5% of the UK population via rooftop aerials.
Richard Waghorn, controller of distribution at the BBC, said: "We are delighted to take this next step in the process of digital switchover. The delivery of high-power digital signals to the whole country is crucial if the BBC is to help deliver a fully digital UK."
Arqiva Terrestrial Media Solutions managing director Steve Holebrook said: "Digital switchover is a complex and challenging task and we are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by the BBC to deliver their future television broadcast network.
"We have a long history in broadcast transmission and we're proud that we'll be playing such a major role supporting the BBC in the future."
Arqiva became the new name for what was ntl Broadcast in June 2005. Australia's Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group acquired the transmission company—which can trace its roots back to the engineering division of the Independent Television Authority, established more than 50 years ago—in December 2004 for £1.27bn.
Last week Arqiva announced it had been selected by BSkyB to support the first European trial of Qualcomm's mobile television technology MediaFLO. The month-long technical trial will take place in Cambridgeshire and will broadcast 10 channels, including Sky Sports News and Sky News, to mobile devices.
Lovelace Consulting | 18.09.2006