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France Delays DMB Radio Start

Digital radio launch pushed to mid-2010

Broadcast regulator Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) is slowing the rollout of digital radio in France using an audio variant of the T-DMB standard. Originally, services were to be on air by year-end 2009, but now the launch has been delayed until mid 2010.

Allocations and licensing decisions have been made, but decisions about multiplexes and the cost of broadcasting both analog and digital services were cited as reasons for the delay.

Digital radio industry promotion group DR France said it was surprised by the decision, although several private radio operators, including RTL, Europe 1, NRJ Group and NextRadioTV, have expressed concerns about the cost of DMB Radio operations. An official report estimated that stations would have to spend an additional €126 million to €188 million in transmission costs with digital radio.

“The radio of the future will happen with or without those who do not want it, because of the promise it holds for listeners and broadcasters,” according to a statement from DR France. “The economic crisis does not justify this delay.”

A subsequent report to the government stated that the mid-2010 deadline must be held to, and that state aid should be used to ensure that it stands. To do otherwise, the according to the report, would risk “destabilizing the radio landscape.”