More Freeview capacity – COM7, COM8 and COM9 – in the 600MHz band

By | October 8, 2011

Ofcom has announced provisional plans to reuse part of the television spectrum that was saved at digital switchover for … more digital television.

Following on from   More Freeview capacity coming 2012-2016 article I posted on 17th August 2011, Ofcom has now official announced the proposals for the 600MHz spectrum –  Ofcom – 600 MHz band and geographic interleaved spectrum.

The new proposals will make for the provision of three new Freeview multiplexes, which I have provisionally called com7, com8 and com9 for the purpose of showing something on UK Free TV:

The proposals now suggest that the seven frequencies (C31 to C37) are split into three networks: two multiple-frequency networks and a national single-frequency network on C36.

The post-switchover UK Freeview comprises of two types of service – the public service multiplexes which are broadcast from all main and relay transmitters, and the so-called commercial multiplexes that broadcast from 80 “main” masts:

Arqiva, providing a solution to Ofcom have come up with a method of simplifying the 80-transmitter network plan to allow just three frequencies to be used to provide a further national multiplex. This is done by a number of techniques which include merging some areas into small single-frequency networks, as well as reducing the power level and using the DVB-T2 transmission system.

The reduced network configuration looks like this:

This allows for almost all homes that currently have access to the current commercial multiplexes (ArqA, ArqB and SDN) to be served by the two multiplexes. In addition C36 is configured for a national signle-frequency network. The provided level of coverage is shown on these maps:

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