Ofcom earmarks 20 local TV locations
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has unveiled 20 UK towns and cities which are expected to get their own local TV stations.
The first 'pioneer' areas include Belfast, Brighton and Hove, Cardiff, Glasgow, Grimsby, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Swansea.
The locations were whittled down from 65 towns and cities which applied earlier this year.
The government hopes to license the first local stations from summer 2012.
"I am confident these new stations will provide local communities with programming which is relevant to their daily lives, will support local democracy, boost the big society and enhance local communities," said Mr Hunt.
The other areas included are Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston and Southampton.
The towns and cities earmarked were chosen by media watchdog Ofcom, which examined the interest from potential operators and local audiences, as well as ensuring the projects were technically viable.
Ofcom will now begin a further consultation on those areas, starting at the end of next week.
The process is expected to take between eight and 12 weeks, after which the licences will be awarded.
A further 24 areas have been identified for a future round of licensing, including four in Scotland - Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee and Inverness.
Mold and Bangor in Wales and Barnstaple, Basingstoke, Bedford, Cambridge, Carlisle, Guildford, Hereford, Kidderminster, Luton, Maidstone, Malvern, Salisbury, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon and York in England have named.
Londonderry and Limavady in Northern Ireland have also been singled out.
Legislation enabling the stations to be set up has still to be passed, but this is expected to be laid down shortly.
The BBC licence fee will finance some start-up costs, but advertising is likely to fund the services.