Statement on review of LCN Policy rules on reordering and changing channels - 31 October 2018

In April 2017, following an industry-wide consultation, we changed our LCN Policy to give more flexibility to channel providers. The current version of the LCN Policy can be found at

We said we would review two of the rule changes after 18 months: the rules governing requests to reorder channels, and channels changing name and/or content. 

Requests to reorder channels  

  • Prior to the 2017 LCN Policy changes, channel providers could only reorder the LCNs of channels in their portfolio once a year. 
  • Following the consultation, we changed the rule so that channel providers could reorder their portfolio twice in any 12-month rolling period. 
  • We said we would review this rule change after 18 months.
  • The current rule has now been in place for 18 months, and we have seen only positive effects for viewers, listeners and the platform. We will therefore retain the current rule. 

Channels changing name and/or content

Prior to the 2017 LCN Policy changes, a channel could ‘evolve’ by changing its name and content and nonetheless retain its LCN, but only if it did not evolve to such an extent that Digital UK considered it should no longer be considered to be the same channel.

Following the consultation, we relaxed this rule so that channel providers could change the content and/or name of a channel, and nonetheless retain that channel’s LCN (so long as it remained appropriate to the genre in which it has been placed). This could mean replacing the channel with an entirely different channel. 

  • To minimise disruption on the platform, channel providers may only submit one request to change the name of their channel in any 12-month rolling period. This request may be for a temporary name change, i.e. one where the channel changes its name at a certain date and reverts to the old name at a certain date.
  • We said we would review this rule change after 18 months.
  • The current rule has now been in place for 18 months, and we have seen only positive effects for viewers, listeners and the platform. We will therefore retain the current rule. 

Statement on the reorganisation of the DTT LCN listing and changes to Digital UK's LCN Policy - 3 April 2017

Following an industry-wide consultation, the Freeview TV guide is set to be updated and expanded on Wednesday, 2 August 2017. This change is designed to increase capacity for the launch of new channels in the future and strengthen consumer protection measures to further minimise risks around minors viewing inappropriate content. Some existing channels will move to new numbers. Digital UK's policy for allocating channel numbers is also being simplified to provide greater flexibility for channel providers.

Freeview viewers may need to retune on or after this date to ensure they have the latest channel line-up, where equipment does not do this automatically.

The full statement on changes to the Freeview TV guide and Digital UK's LCN Policy can be downloaded via the link below:

Statement: Reorganisation of the DTT LCN listing and changes to Digital UK's LCN Policy

Original consultation - 18 October 2016

The new version of the LCN Policy, which takes effect immediately, can be accessed via the link below:

Digital UK LCN Policy

We have also made slight amendments to the LCN Allocation Terms and Conditions, so that where they reference the LCN Policy, they point to the correct sections of the new version. The updated Terms and Conditions can be accessed via the link below:

Terms and Conditions

Temporary overflow areas

As we now have a clear plan to create more capacity for all genres which require it, we have decided to amend our temporary overflow areas.

We continue to see significant demand for General Entertainment LCNs, and we believe that in the interests of LCN efficiency and minimising disruption to channel providers, we should now reduce the size of the temporary Children's Overflow (currently occupying LCNs 95-99).

Since we created the Children's Overflow area in March 2016, one channel has launched into it: Ketchup TV, which will remain at its current LCN until 2 August, when it will join the other children's services in the newly-expanded Children's genre. If another children's service launches before 2 August, it will be temporarily allocated LCN 99.

The remaining LCNs in this range will be allocated to new General Entertainment services launching on the platform. They will be offered the opportunity to 'shuffle up' when channel moves take effect on 2 August.

If more additional LCNs are required for General Entertainment services before this date, new services will be allocated LCNs in the 140+ range and will also be offered the opportunity to 'shuffle up' on 2 August.

Statement on the creation of a Children's genre overflow area - 22 March 2016

Following the launch of Kix, the section of the Freeview programme guide currently allocated to the Children's Genre (LCN 120 - LCN 129) is now full.  

Section 3.13 of the LCN Policy states that in the event a genre overflows, Digital UK will place any additional channels of that genre launching on the platform in the most appropriate alternative location in the LCN listing.  

Therefore, Digital UK will reserve LCNs 95 to 99, at the end of the General Entertainment LCNs, as a temporary overflow area for future Children's genre launches.  LCN 95 will be utilised as a genre "bookend slate" to divide the genres, for consumer protection. The first LCN in this overflow area to be allocated will be LCN 96.

For the avoidance of doubt, though new channels in the temporary overflow will be given a numerically lower LCN for the period during which the overflow is required, they will be considered to be chronologically at the end of the children's genre (i.e. LCN 96 would be considered equivalent to LCN 130, LCN 97 would be considered equivalent to LCN 131 and so on).

Should a Children's genre LCN become vacant, this will be treated as though there is no separated overflow grouping and be allocated as usual, in accordance with Section 8 of the LCN Policy. If any vacant LCN cannot be allocated in this way, pursuant to Section 8.4, Digital UK will use the LCN in order to unite more of the genre.

The LCN Policy will continue to apply to channels launching into the temporary overflow in the same way as channels launching into the main grouping of the Children's genre.

Any channels allocated LCNs into this overflow are on a temporary basis only and it is our intention to reunite the Children's genre. We will instigate a consultation on the options to do this shortly.

Statement on the allocation of LCN 7 - 1 March 2016

Following the transition of BBC Three to an online service, Digital UK has published a statement setting out its decision on the allocation of LCN 7 in the Freeview TV guide.

Non-confidential responses to the consultation:

Statement on reserving content genre LCNs for HD-only services - 1 March 2016

Digital UK has published a statement on the reservation of channel numbers in the General Entertainment and News genres for HD-only services.

Non-confidential responses to the consultation:

Statement on expanding and repositioning IP delivered services - 4 July 2014

Following a consultation earlier this year, Digital UK has published a statement on its decisions regarding proposals to expand and reposition the IP services genre within the Freeview EPG.* 

Non-confidential responses to the consultation can be found below:

*This document was updated on 7 July 2014 due to an error in the channel listing.

Statement on Freeview HD proposals - 7 August 2013

Following an industry wide consultation earlier this year, Digital UK has published a statement setting out its decisions on proposals for the Freeview HD genre. These are designed to provide clarity around the allocation of channel numbers in anticipation of the future growth of high-definition services on the platform.

The statement includes decisions on:

  • the ordering of channels in the HD genre
  • the type of content that will be included in the HD genre
  • substitution of channel numbers for SD and HD services
  • how appropriate prominence for PSB services should apply

These decisions do not necessitate any changes to current channel numbers. The statement also details clarifications to Digital UK's LCN Policy.

Statement: Freeview TV guide update - 22 April 2014

The Freeview TV guide is being updated on Wednesday, 3 September 2014 to create extra capacity for new services. As a result, Children�s and News channels will move to new channel numbers.

*    The Children's genre will move from LCN 70 to start at LCN 120
*    The News genre will move from LCN 80 to start at LCN 130

To update their guide viewers simply need to retune their Freeview TVs and digital boxes where equipment does not pick up the changes automatically. On-screen messages will prompt viewers to retune on or after 3 September 2014.

Viewers who don't retune will not lose channels - services will remain accessible at their old numbers. However, Digital UK and Freeview recommend viewers retune from time-to-time to ensure they have access to all available services in their area.

Clarification: Geographically shared LCNs - 25 February 2014

Following the move of Food Network from channel 48 to 41 on 27 August 2013, the re-allocation of LCN 48 was temporarily put on hold pending a review to clarify rules around associated channels in Digital UK's LCN policy. In particular, how these rules apply to services that currently share LCNs across different regions of the UK. This review has now been completed. To clarify, associated channel rules apply equally to geographically shared LCNs.

LCN Consultation 2012

On 30 July 2012 DMOL published the findings of its review of Freeview channel numbering and plans to update the on-screen programme guide.

The full statement on this and the reorganisation of DTT listings is available below.

Non-confidential responses to the consultation are available here.

The 29 March 2012 consultation documents and accompanying Kantar Media research report are available below.

DMOL Interim Statement on the LCNs for Local PSBs

On 6 July 2012 DMOL published an interim statement confirming the reservation of the following Logical Channel Numbers (LCNs) for the local PSB services that will be listed under s.310 of the Communications Act (2003).

  • In England and Northern Ireland: LCN 8
  • In Scotland and Wales: LCN 45

These each represent the lowest available LCN in their respective areas of the UK.

DMOL is providing early confirmation of the LCNs for local PSB services at the request of Ofcom and in order to provide potential local TV bidders under the new DCMS Local TV Framework with certainty of their channel numbers as early as possible within the licensing window.

DMOL's full consultation statement will be published later in July 2012.

DMOL Interim Changes to the Adult and Local TV Genres

On 11 April 2012 DMOL confirmed that:

  • It is necessary to reunite the two parts of the Adult genre into one block in the LCN 91 to 100 range, and that
  • The Local TV genre will move from LCN 200 to the LCN 75 to 79 range.

These changes took place on Monday 16 April 2012 in order to ensure that the c.18% of UK TV households who re-tuned for London switchover picked up the changes to the LCNs of the adult services.

These two changes are an interim solution intended to keep channel changes to a minimum consistent with meeting Ofcom's immediate concern to ensure that there is a clearly signposted single block of adult content after all the television services. DMOL's longer term proposals for the positioning of adult and local channels will be confirmed in the DMOL LCN Consultation statement due to be published later in July.

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