ITC grants multiplex A licence to SDN

26th May 1998

The ITC granted today (26 May) Multiplex Service licence A to SDN Ltd, a jointly owned company in which NTL, S4C and United News and Media hold equal shares.

The ITC awarded the licence to SDN in July 1997. A signed shareholders’ agreement has now been received under which each participant holds a third of the shares in SDN.

Peter Rogers, Chief Executive of the ITC, said:

"We are pleased to have granted the final multiplex licence to SDN. This has been a long process, but the outcome is a strong consortium involving three organisations who together provide the experience and financial security necessary to ensure the successful launch and development of this multiplex."

SDN was the sole applicant for Multiplex A. Part of the capacity on the multiplex is reserved for services provided by Channel 5, S4C in Wales and Gaelic programming in Scotland.

SDN must begin its service within 12 months of the grant of the licence unless a later date is agreed by the ITC.

Programme Services

The ITC requires SDN to provide further details of the programme services to be carried on Multiplex A no later than three months after the grant of licence.

Channel 5 and S4C additional capacity

Channel 5 and S4C have guaranteed capacity to provide their analogue services as simulcasts on Multiplex A. They may also provide additional services on the capacity set aside for this purpose. Further information will be provided by SDN as part of its submission to the ITC on the proposed programme services to be carried on the multiplex.

Notes to Editors

  1. The ITC advertised the licences to operate four commercial digital terrestrial multiplexes on 31 October 1996. By the closing date of 31 January 1997, three applications had been received as follows:
    • Multiplex A: SDN Ltd (then S4C Digital Networks Ltd)
    • Multiplexes B, C and D: British Digital Broadcasting PLC (BDB), Digital Terrestrial Television Network Ltd (DTN)
  2. On 24 June 1997 the ITC awarded each of Multiplex Service licences B,C and D to BDB, a company jointly owned by Carlton Communications and Granada Group. It was a condition of the grant of the licence that BSkyB, one of the three original shareholders, should withdraw as a shareholder in BDB. The ITC also decided to award the licence to provide the service on the C3/C4 Multiplex to Digital 3 and 4 Ltd, a company jointly owned by the Channel 3 licensees and Channel 4. On 22 July 1997, the ITC announced its decision to award the licence for Multiplex A to SDN, conditional upon S4C’s shareholding in SDN being no greater than 50.1 per cent.
  3. Sufficient frequencies are available for six multiplexes. Use of these multiplexes requires a licence from the ITC, except for the first multiplex which has been allocated by the Government to the BBC. Capacity is reserved for three analogue broadcasters (Channel 3, Channel 4, and Teletext Ltd) on the second multiplex, and for Channel 5, S4C in Wales, together with provision for Gaelic programmes in Scotland, on Multiplex A. The Channel 3 licensees, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C all notified the ITC on 15 October 1996 of their intention to provide their analogue services on a simulcast basis on digital terrestrial television. All of them have been allocated by the government extra capacity to provide one or more additional programme services.
  4. Copies of the SDN licence will be available from the ITC Information Office priced £10.00 each or on the ITC web site (