Topic 6: Independent radio services
Section 31: Renewal of national radio licences
137.Section 31 allows the further renewal of national analogue licences for a period of up to seven years. All of these licences have already been granted a renewal of 12 years under the powers in section 103A of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”).
138.The procedure to be adopted for licence renewals under the new section 103B of the 1990 Act is that set out in subsections (2) to (9), (11) and (12) of section 103A of that Act. However, within these subsections, the provisions which refer to a situation where a digital service is not yet on-air do not apply. This is because an applicant for a renewal under section 103B will already be providing a national digital simulcast service under the conditions of the previous renewal.
139.OFCOM must include a condition in renewed licences requiring licence holders to do all they can to provide a digital simulcast of their radio service throughout the renewal period.
140.An application for renewal must be made no later than three months before the relevant date, as defined in the existing section 103A(11) of the 1990 Act. Normally, OFCOM must determine the relevant date at least one year in advance. Section 31(3) allows OFCOM to set a relevant date of less than one year after the date of determination where they consider that the relevant date falls no more than 15 months after the day on which section 31 comes into force. However, OFCOM must determine the relevant date as soon as practicable following commencement of section 31.