Switchover notes - multiplex names
Brian Butterworth published on UK Free TV
The Broadcasting Act 1996 (c. 55) originally set up the law that allows digital television to be broadcast.
The regulator was the ITC (Independent Television Commission) allocated six multiplexes, as provided by the Act.
Multiplex 1Multiplex 1 was allocated to the BBC. The BBC can provide whatever services on it that it deems necessary. The multiplex originally ran in 64QAM mode, delivering 24Mbps.
Multiplex 2Multiplex 2 was allocated as follows:
Multiplex AMultiplex A was allocated to S4C, the Welsh language broadcaster.
Multiplex B, C and DThese were allocated to British Digital Broadcasting, later known as ONdigital and ITV Digital. These were to be used for "pay TV" services. These multiplex originally ran in 64QAM mode, delivering 24Mbps.
Freeview allocationsAfter the failure on ITV Digital, their multiplexes were put up for auction.
Multiplexes 1 and BMultiplex B was then allocated to BBC Free To View Ltd (BBC FTV). The BBC switched multiplexes 1 and B to 16QAM mode, delivering 18Mbps each to provide more reliable coverage but with an extra 12Mbps.
Multiplexes C and DThese were awarded to Crown Castle International (CCI), which was originally part of BBC Engineering that was "liberated" from the BBC by the 1996 Act. These multiplexes were also switched to 16QAM mode, with 18Mbps each.
Ofcom frequency negotiations
New namesThe Ofcom international frequency negotiations for the digital-only terrestrial television used new designations for the multiplexes. These were:
- Multiplex 1 - PSB1 ("Public Service Broadcasting")
- Multiplex 2 - PSB2
- Multiplex A - COM4 ("Commercial")
- Multiplex B - PSB3
- Multiplex C - COM5
- Multiplex D - COM6
Post-switchover namesTo distinguish the multiplexes in the switched-over regions from the original ones, Ofcom now uses these names:
- Multiplex 1 - BBCA ("BBC A") - back in 64QAM
- Multiplex 2 - D3+4 ("Digital 3 and 4 Ltd")
- Multiplex A - SDN ("S4C Digital Networks")
- Multiplex B - BBCB ("BBC B") - - back in 64QAM
- Multiplex C - ARQA ("Arqiva A") - back in 64QAM
- Multiplex D - ARQB ("Arqiva B") - back in 64QAM
Arqiva bought Crown Castle International.
Freeview HDFreeview HD will provide, from 2 December 2009, a new service on Multiplex BBCB. This will be in 256QAM mode.
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