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NEW VENTURE TO CREATE DATA SERVICE FOR NATIONAL COMMERCIAL DAB DIGITAL RADIO

April 4, 2004. The UK's first and only national digital radio multiplex operator, Digital One, today announces a deal which heralds a groundbreaking new venture in data broadcasting. BT Wholesale will develop a service which utilises capacity on the national commercial DAB digital radio network to broadcast multimedia data services.

This new venture underpins Digital One’s belief that rich data services will give a significant boost to DAB digital radio’s success and that, with the backing of BT Wholesale, it is uniquely placed to deliver the potential benefits.

Quentin Howard, Chief Executive of Digital One, said: “DAB datacasting has been a holy grail for DAB but to date there has been little practical realisation of the idea. Within the next eighteen months we will have the reality and be able to deliver multimedia information and entertainment to mobile devices powered by DAB digital radio.”

“Digital One’s key licence obligations are to encourage the medium’s success by delivering services with a broad appeal and to stimulate the take-up of DAB digital radio. The creation of this new venture to broadcast data services on our multiplex is an important step in achieving that goal. First we built the largest DAB network in the world, then we invested in new chip technology which successfully stimulated the receiver market. Now we are set to bring the world’s first broadband datacasting service to consumers.”

“In joining with BT Wholesale, we are bringing to DAB digital radio a world leader in telecommunications technologies with unrivalled manufacturing partnership skills and the marketing power of a strong brand. GWR is the radio group which pioneered commercial DAB digital radio. This venture will help take DAB digital radio to the next stage - bringing in new brands and enabling development into new markets.”

The venture will play a major part in stimulating new portable receiver technology and the integration of DAB digital radio into mobile phones and other devices. It also enables improvements to be made to Digital One’s core transmission network to boost signal strength and coverage. The transmission improvements will be built by NTL. These developments benefit the industry as a whole, and will lead to cheaper receivers, improved technology, better signal quality and accelerated take-up of digital radio.

OFCOM has granted approval to Digital One to use its data capacity to carry the new rich multimedia service. The UK national commercial DAB digital radio multiplex will carry the most advanced multimedia offering in the world, with a mix and variety of content and information services, together with eight national commercial radio stations.

DAB digital radio will enable new capabilities on mobile phones including both broadcast and downloadable music and video clips combined with text and information services, all of which can have interactive functions. As this venture moves forward, BT Wholesale will be working in conjunction with world-class manufacturers of cellular equipment to develop applications and new devices for the service. Third party content and information providers will be able to deliver services such as news, traffic, sport and music through the system.

-Ends-



Notes for Editors

Digital One is pioneering DAB digital radio across the UK and the rest of the world. It has the biggest commercial radio investment in digital radio. Along with the BBC, Digital One is also the largest stakeholder in the Digital Radio Development Bureau and is a leading member of the WorldDAB Forum.

· Digital One owns and operates the UK's only national commercial digital
multiplex.

· The company is 63 per cent owned by the UK's leading commercial radio group, GWR Group Plc, and 37 per cent owned by NTL, the UK's leading broadcast communications company.

· Digital One operates the world’s biggest digital radio network with 83 transmitters reaching over 85% of the population of Great Britain.

· The company developed the world’s best selling DAB digital radio ‘Chorus’ chip which is currently used in over 75% of digital radio products sold in the UK.

· Digital One is the digital home of Classic FM, talkSPORT, Virgin Radio and five new digital stations: Core, Life, Oneword Radio, Planet Rock and PrimeTime Radio.

· Digital One developed the industry-standard marketing logo, the “R mark” which is used to identify digital radio technology and services.

For more press information, please contact:

Samantha Dawe, The Think Tank

t 0207 833 5511

m 0781 378 3181

e samanthad@thinktank.org.uk


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