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In this consultation, Digital UK proposed a package of changes to the LCN Policy, which aim to:

  • Enable the use of new technology in Freeview Play devices, which will make it easier for viewers to discover HD content, and give them access to more channels.
  • Give more flexibility to channel providers. We believe channel providers are best placed to manage their portfolios to the benefit of viewers.

In particular, we proposed to:

  • Enable HD channels to take the place of their SD equivalents, on devices which support this.
  • Enable ‘IP fallback’ channels on devices which support this. That could mean that devices that are not connected to an aerial could nonetheless receive certain channels via IP; and that viewers who rely on relay transmitters, and are therefore missing channels from some UK-wide multipexes, could receive some of those channels via IP.
  • Enable channels that are delivered solely via IP, with no DTT element, to be received by devices that support them.
  • Remove the restrictions on how often channel providers may reorder LCNs within their portfolio and change channels’ names.
  • Remove the restrictions on channel providers trading LCNs.
  • Increase the minimum broadcast hours requirement for any new channel launching on the platform to six hours per day.

Download consultation

Consultation decision

Digital UK has concluded its consultation on changes to the LCN Policy, and has today published a consultation statement and a new version of LCN Policy (version 7.0).

The consultation opened in November 2020 and proposed a package of changes to the LCN Policy, which aimed to:

  • Enable the use of new technology in Freeview Play devices, making it easier for viewers to discover HD content, and giving them access to more channels.
  • Give more flexibility to channel providers.

We received 24 responses, from viewers, channels, a television platform, and other interested parties. Having carefully considered the views expressed in the responses, we have reached the following decisions:

  • HD/SD substitution: We have decided to implement our proposals.
  • IP fallback: We have decided to amend the proposals, so that if a channel with a Freeview Play application qualifies for an LCN within at least three of the four nations of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), it may choose to enable IP fallback across the whole of the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
  • IP-only channels: We have decided to make an addition to our proposals, to reserve a range of LCNs that may be allocated to channels that are carried on a Freeview Play application but are not owned and operated by the company that owns the application. We have also decided that we will consult later in 2021 on alternative methods of allocating LCNs in the IP-delivered range where two or more different channel providers’ Freeview Play applications occupy the same position in different parts of the UK.

For all of the above three areas, we will keep the rules under review, to consider how and when IP-delivered channels without Freeview Play applications might make use of the functionality.

  • Swapping/changing LCNs: We have decided to implement our proposals. Before imposing fees on channels, we will publish a rate card, which will explain the amount we will charge.
  • Update: We have now published the rate card for LCN swaps, changes and trades.
  • LCN trading: We have decided to implement our proposals. We will publish a rate card, which will explain the amount we will charge channels which trade LCNs. No LCN trades will be permitted or administered until after this rate card has been published.
  • Update: We have now published the rate card for LCN swaps, changes and trades.
  • Minimum broadcast hours: We have decided to implement our proposals.

Download LCN Policy v7.0

Download consultation statement

Non-confidential responses to the consultation:

BBC Studio Be
Canis Together TV
Channel 4 UKTV
Expert Media Viacom
ITV Viewer
Mediapaedia VOD 365
RTE YouView