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CSA Studies Digital Radio Deployment

French committee makes moves toward digital terrestrial radio

Philippe Gault, president, SIRTI

The Conseil supérieur de l´audiovisuel delivered a report to France’s parliament and government on Jan. 21, according to WorldDAB. This report considers the question of the evolution of radio broadcasting modes and what role digital terrestrial radio should play on this issue.

The study is supported by a series of technical hearings conducted during September through October 2014, as well as evidence from trials in France and deployments elsewhere in Europe. A Dec. 11, 2014 public consultation was also considered.

Commenting on the report, Philippe Gault, president of the Syndicat interprofessionnel des radios et télévisions indépendantes (the union of independent radio and TV outlets in France) said “the CSA is demonstrating its interest in digital terrestrial radio.”

The CSA will launch local calls for nominations, giving priority to areas defined according to whether experiments have had positive results (Nantes, Lyon), border areas in which terrestrial FM is rare (Lille, Strasbourg) and zones where there is a shortage of supply of analog radio.

SIRTI proposes that areas such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Rennes, Le Havre and Rouen also be considered in order to compensate for the lack of FM frequencies as well as the scarcity of regional programs. The organization in addition suggests giving priority to border areas including Lens-Arras-Valenciennes, Mulhouse, Nancy, Metz, Colmar, Besançon and Annecy.

Gault highlights that the report represents a commitment from the CSA to initiate in 2015 the necessary actions for issuing permits to new areas and extending digital terrestrial coverage to over 20 percent of the population. This, he said, will require the imminent availability of digital radio receivers in France.