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France’s CSA Continues Push for Digital Radio

PARIS�Earlier this year, France�sCSA solicited comments regarding the further implementation of digital radio across the country. Comments were collected between June 10 and July 17 and on Oct. 22, CSA adopted a document which is a compilation of comments received.

One hundred and fifteen contributors sent comments to CSA. The Office of Radio (an umbrella organization made up of the four largest private radio groups in France– Lagard�re Active stations, NextradioTV, NRJ Group and RTL Group) continue to express opposition to the deployment of digital radio in France; their reasoning is simply that there is no workable economic model.�

Conversely, associations of independent broadcasters, includingSIRTI, CNRA andSNRL, continue to push for the widespread deployment of DAB+, subject to reservations related to the funding of community radio stations.� Many of the comments were of a similar nature, according�

The position of Radio France remained cautious vis-�-vis its participation in the digital radio.

CSA has suggested two digital radio allotments in each �area�� a local allotment and an �extended� allotment.� Most local and regional broadcasters want at least three allotments per area, and as many as four in areas currently underserved by FM radio.Both SIRTI and SNRL have previously expressed opposition to the creation ofnation-wideallotments for digital radio, and continued to express that concern in the latest round of consultations.�

CSA continues to plan for the solicitation of digital radio applications this year so that more stations can start broadcasting in 2016. All interested broadcasters are in favor of rapid deployment of DAB, but at the same time expressed concern about the financial capacity of all stakeholders to actually carry it out.�

After 20 percent of France�s population is covered by DAB+, radio manufacturers are obligated to phase-in DAB+ capability on newly manufactured receivers. �