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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC and Arqiva announce agreement to enable roll-out of terrestrial HD network

Today, the BBC and Arqiva have announced that the agreement to upgrade the relevant parts of the UK digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmission network to DVB-T2 has been confirmed.

The new DVB-T2 technology will deliver an increase in capacity of 67% to the BBC's Multiplex B, efficiently creating the space needed for UK public service broadcasters' HD transmissions.

The BBC and Arqiva will be the first organisations in the world to deploy the DVB-T2 technology into full operational service across an entire transmission network.

The upgrade programme, which runs alongside the BBC's main digital television transmission agreement, will start by launching Freeview HD services in the North West of England from December this year.

From then on, the new technology will roll-out with digital switchover at each transmitter, with most areas which have switched over already being upgraded before the end of 2010.

In addition, the BBC has made arrangements with Arqiva to build a small network of five additional transmitters which will bring HD services to certain key metropolitan areas ahead of their planned switchover dates.

London will benefit from the end of 2009, with transmitters for Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds/Bradford due to be on-air during spring 2010.

Speaking about these developments, Alix Pryde, Controller of BBC Distribution, said: "The BBC's agreements with Arqiva to build the High Definition infrastructure for DTT represent an important step forward that sets us on course for a successful launch in December this year. We look forward to confirming later this autumn our plans with Freeview for the consumer launch of HD services."

Matthew Postgate, Controller Research & Development BBC, said: "The BBC has a long and distinguished history in developing technologies for the benefit of the wider media industry and consumer, and the work of our R&D team is as important in the digital age as it ever has been. The pioneering work of the team in creating the standard, in partnership with DVB, has been instrumental in bringing HD to terrestrial TV and will allow Freeview to build on its phenomenal success."

Steve Holebrook, managing director of terrestrial broadcast for Arqiva, the transmission company who will build the network, said: "This is a fantastic development for Freeview and we're delighted to be working with the BBC to bring this new technology to market as quickly as possible. Once again, we in the UK are leading the world in television technology and this should stimulate the DVB-T2 market throughout Europe."

Notes to Editors

Viewers will need a new Freeview HD device (set-top box, integrated digital TV set or digital TV recorder) to receive Freeview HD broadcasts. It is expected that a range of products will be available in retailers from early 2010. Existing HD-ready television sets will display the pictures but will require an additional Freeview HD receiver (set-top box or digital recorder) in order to decode Freeview HD transmissions.

About the BBC
The BBC exists to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain. It provides a wide range of distinctive programmes and services for everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias. They include television, radio, national, local, children's, educational, language and other services for key interest groups. The BBC is financed by a TV licence paid by households. It does not have to serve the interests of advertisers, or produce a return for shareholders.

About Arqiva
Arqiva operates at the heart of the broadcast and mobile communications industry and is at the forefront of network solutions and services in an increasingly digital world. The company provides much of the infrastructure behind television, radio and wireless communications in the UK and has a growing presence in Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA. There are three business units:

Terrestrial Broadcast provides transmission for all UK terrestrial TV broadcasters, including the new networks being built for the Digital Switch Over. Transmission is also provided for BBC Radio and most commercial radio stations, both analogue and DAB. The company owns and operates two of the six UK digital terrestrial TV multiplexes, enabling major media companies to bring their TV and radio services to Freeview.

Satellite & Media provides global communication platforms to enterprise, government and broadcast customers around the world. It owns and operates teleports at key locations including Los Angeles, Washington, London and Paris, as well as comprehensive satellite capacity, an international terrestrial fibre network and extensive media facilities. These enable Arqiva to provide world leading organisations with a comprehensive range of services to deliver their data, broadcasts and media across the globe.

Wireless Access provides cellular, wireless broadband, voice and data solutions for the mobile communications, public safety, local government, and commercial markets. Arqiva is the largest independent provider of radio sites in the UK and Ireland. With its own spectrum, the company can provide complete mobile communications networks including backhaul links.

Arqiva has its headquarters near Winchester and other major UK offices in London, Warwick, Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire. The company is owned by a consortium of investors led by CPPIB. Major customers include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BSkyB, Classic FM, the five UK mobile operators and the emergency services.

SM

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