Last update: 20-07-2016 - older versions

Reportage on the ongoing  expansion of DAB+ in France [in French].

Current Situation

Digital radio launched in Paris, Nice and Marseille in 2014. Across the three cities over 100 services are on air - all but one are on DAB+.

At its meeting on 29 June in Berlin, the German-French Radio Commission requested the German and the French Governments to ask EU Institutions to assist with EU-wide market development of digital radio, by making it mandatory for all new radio receivers sold to be equipped with DAB+. This is particularly relevant for the automotive industry, to future-proof all vehicles coming onto the roads.

In January 2015 the CSA published a report outlining its support for digital radio. 

In December 2015 the CSA adopted the conclusions from a June 2015 public consultation and defined the timetable it intends to implement to continue the deployment of Digital Broadcast Radio throughout mainland France. This schedule provides for the call-up of more than 40 regional allotments in metropolitan France beyond those of Paris, Marseille and Nice, which have already been the subject of an appeal, and more than a hundred local allotments. The timetable spreads from 2016 to 2023.

The metropolitan areas of France to be covered include Lille, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rouen, Toulouse with calls for application in 2016, Bordeaux, Besançon, Orléans and Clermont-Ferrand in 2017 then the most populated areas from 2018 onwards. These regional allotments will be doubled up by local allotments in the same areas. The CSA completed another step before the actual call for application number 2 (Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg) with the publication of the impact study on April 19, 2016. Contributions from stakeholders have been received and the call for applications opened the 7th June 2016. Applications are now expected before the 19th July 2016. Up to 39 services could be authorized for each zone.

In order not to jeopardize the possible arrival of players who want a nationwide deployment, the CSA is reserving two national allotments. If required, more local calls for applications will be considered in the future. 

Trial services have been on air in Lyon and Nantes for several years. 13 stations are on air in Nantes, and 20 in Lyon. Lyon started broadcasting on a trial licence in April 2011. An additional trial is taking place in Rambouillet with the stated objective to test digital radio in mobility, including a TPEG service. Two trials are also on air in Paris : a TPEG trial as well as a new trial in the eastern part of Paris, intended to supplement poor FM reception following request from listeners (the so called “sans radio” group). Radio France's portfolio of radio stations are broadcasting on this trial which is conducted by Towercast since early July 2016.

Last update: 04-02-2016 - older versions

The network operator (TDF) produced comprehensive coverage plans in 2009 ready for the start of national and regional services. One of the benefits of digital radio to French listeners, as pointed out by the CSA, is that it will allow greater coverage and more stations in many areas. This is important to the CSA who have a remit to provide the best possible service including coverage to the widest possible audience.

TDF has broadcast a mix of DAB+/DMB services in Lyon since 2008 with 10 to 12 radio stations. VDL also has two multiplexes in Lyon covering 85% of the regional population and some of the major highways. Trial services are on air also in Nantes. Combining the Marseille, Nice and Paris commercial services, nearly 20% of the population have access to a digital radio service. The CSA has the responsibility to take notice when the 20% threshold is achieved; this 20% population coverage would trigger the mandatory inclusion of digital radio in all receivers sold in France after a period which varies depending on the type of receiver.

Last update: 22-07-2016 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

There are six regular regional commercial multiplexes on air in Paris, four in Nice and four in Marseille. 52 stations are on air in Paris, 35 in Marseille and 35 in Nice (mid 2016 count). 39 of the 52 DAB+ stations on air in Paris, 24 of the 35 DAB+ stations on air in Nice and 22 of the 35 DAB+ stations in Marseille are available exclusively via DAB+ digital radio (not on FM).

There is one trial local multiplexes on air in Nantes, two trial local multiplex on air in Lyon and one trial local multiplex on air in Rambouillet. 18 of the 21 DAB+ stations on air in Lyon and 5 of the 10 DAB+ stations on air in Nantes are available exclusively via DAB+ digital radio (not on FM).

Crooner Radio and Antinea offer Slideshow services (SLS) and  Alta Fréquenza will start broadcasting Slideshow shortly.

Simulcast on AM / FM Exclusive on digital Total of services
DAB+ programmes 37 85 122

Last update: 29-09-2014

The automotive after sale manufacturers are also proposing a wider range of DAB+ car radio. Pioneer, Clarion, Alpine or Kenwood, among others, are all offering solutions in France.

Last update: 18-02-2016 - older versions

In France, DAB+ digital radio sales growth reached 30% in 2015 with a peak of 50% in December. WorldDAB has established an automotive working group to encourage the automotive industry install digital radio for the European market and beyond.

Digital radio receivers capable of receiving DAB, DAB+ and DMB audio are available in the market through some of the major retailers (FNAC, DARTY, Boulanger, Auchan, Virgin) or online.

The digital radio receiver brands Pure, REVO, Tivoli, Dual, Bose, Philips, Roberts and Sony are available to the French consumer

Last update: 20-07-2016 - older versions

40,000 households in eastern Paris can now receive DAB as part of a test by Towercast. Radio France is broadcasting their portfolio of radio stations on that trial. 

Last update: 29-09-2014 - older versions

Key features of regulation for digital radio in France are:

  • DAB+ was added to the French standards in August 2013
  • Band III
  • Commercial services for 3 cities (Paris, Nice and Marseilles) in Band III
  • Further cities tenders will use the learning of Paris, Nice and Marseille broadcast 
  • No analogue switch-off date

The legal framework for digital radio was introduced gradually: the Act of 30 September 1986 as amended by the Act of Law of 9 July 2004 set the main legal elements of RNT (calls for applications, digital recovery of authorized services FM: Article 29-1 of the 1986 Act). It was supplemented by the laws of March 5, 2007 and March 5, 2009. 

Analogue and digital licences are both issued free of charge. There is a quota for French music and new artists and the current analogue rules which govern advertising and sponsorship will also apply to digital radio. The selection of the candidates for the first application for Paris, Nice and Marseille were selected by the CSA on 25 September 2012. No other application dates are planned for other cities as of July 2014. However, the CSA has the responsibility to communicate a calendar of deployment.

The French Law on digital radio released in March 2009 has been revised so that when 20% of the French population is covered by a digital radio signal, digital radio demodulator will become mandatory in all devices including radios. Similar to the first draft of the law there is a 12 month grace period after which all products containing radio must be digital with the exception of cars. The car industry has an 18 month grace period after 20% coverage is reached. These changes were made to the law by the French Senate on 17 May 2011.

Currently there is a lack of FM spectrum which means the French radio market has no opportunity to expand. The French market in line with GE-06 has allocated Band III for digital radio. Following a consultation on use of the L-Band in March (2011) by the CSA, a call for tenders has been sent out to use the upper part of L-Band for satellite services which closed on 27 Feb 2012. This is possible as the upper part of the L-Band is reserved for digital radio hybrid services with satellite and terrestrial broadcasting mainly based on SDR.

The tender launched by CSA is not for radio broadcasters but mainly for distributors. It is for a national network with 67 allotments based in the upper part of the L-Band. Coverage objectives are 20% within three years, 40% within five years and minimum 60% within seven years. The tender requires compatibility with MA02revCO07 which will preserve the L-Band for broadcasting. However, it allows for DMB in the terrestrial part and also it opens up the lower part of the band for other technologies. Onde Numerique has been selected by the regulation authority to launch a hybrid terrestrial/satellite network using L-Band. Pay services should start by the end of 2014 using the ESDR norm.

Last update: 24-02-2016 - older versions

l’Alliance pour la RNT

An “Alliance for Digital Radio” (“l’Alliance pour la RNT”) was formed in November 2014 to coordinate activities related to the promotion of a rapid launch of digital radio at the national level, and aimed at the regulator (CSA), government departments, industry partners, retailers and editors.  The Alliance also informs the public about the advantages offered by digital radio. 

The Alliance for Digital Radio was founded by the Syndicat Interprofessionnel des Radios et Télévisions Indépendantes (SIRTI), the Syndicat National des Radios Libres (SNRL) and WorldDMB.  The Alliance continually broadens to include other parties wishing to be involved. 

Current members of the Alliance for Digital Radio are:

In May 2015 the CSA will launch a public consultation into the deployment of DAB+ in the metropolitan areas of France. Areas under consideration are Nantes, Lyon, Strasbourg, Lille, Bethune-Douai-Lens, Valenciennes, Mulhouse, Metz, Nancy, Bayonne, Le Havre, Brest, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Toulouse Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Toulon Rouen.  The Alliance for Digital Radio have welcomed the CSA public consultation on the deployment of DAB radio across France. Press Release


Consumer Marketing

Large retailers including FNAC and DARTY are informing consumers about the benefits of digital radio through their websites. It is nevertheless expected that most of the marketing and communications activities will start during the 4th quarter of 2014. Local campaigns to promote digital radio continue to take place. For example, in June 2014, French radio station ‘Radio Crooner’ hosted a car rally with over 50 Rolls Royce and Bentley cars which crossed the Champs Elysees to mark the official launch of Radio Crooner being broadcast via DAB+ in Paris. Along with on-air promotions Crooner Radio set up a dedicated Facebook page highlighting these activities as well as shared videos on Youtube.

Listen to an on-air promotion

Visit Radio Crooner's YouTube page

Listen to Crooner radio's on-air promotion during MEDPI

Cul de bus

'Cul de Bus' Radio Crooner's first advertising campaign, Monaco.

An advertisement promoting Radio Crooner's App available for download on the App Store and Google play

Radio Crooner Christmas "Christmas from Hollywood" is a special station available on the Radio Crooner website from Dec 7, 2014 - Jan 1, 2015.

Radio Crooner's presenters

Suburban Parisians will no longer have to endure FM interference
WorldDAB Members News - 12.10.2016 - Radio France - France - France
Seven programs of Radio France are now broadcast via DAB+, as well as those of some smaller stations, thanks to transmission provider Towercast, who installed a digital radio transmitter mux at the top of Mercuriales.
From Radio Magazine:

Paris taxi drivers tune in to DAB+ digital radio
04.10.2016 - France - France
During the week of the Paris Motor Show, Paris taxi drivers with newer vehicles are discovering they can listen to digital radio while driving around Paris. Over 50 DAB+ stations are on air in Paris (many exclusive to digital), including all 7 Radio France programmes, Crooner Radio, and many more. Watch the video here.
From Rdaio Crooner:

Paris residents celebrate equal access to public radio
WorldDAB Members News - 03.10.2016 - Radio France - France - France
After a 14 year battle, 40,000 residents of Bagnolet in eastern Paris now have equal access to broadcast digital radio thanks to a DAB+ transmitter installed by Towercast. Residents who had no access to radio due to the extreme congestion of FM in that area are now celebrating being able to listen to over 50 digital radio stations on air, including all seven Radio France stations.
From Le Parisien:

President of independent radios in France for DAB digital radio
02.10.2016 - France - France
Jean-Éric Valli, president of the French economic interest group “Les Indés Radio”, representing 132 radios, 8.2m listeners and €8.5m annual turnover, says he is following developments on DAB across Europe, and talks about the risk of relying on internet and gatekeepers.
From Le Figaro (subscription):

Graham Dixon stressed the importance of digital radio in a mobile world
WorldDAB Members News - 29.09.2016 - European Broadcasting Union (EBU) - France - France
As he explained at in a session at IBC, Graham Dixon,Head of Radio at EBU said digital broadcasting meets the needs of listeners and industry for terrestrial radio; it is important to incorporate DAB + receivers in mobile devices.
From La Lettre Pro:

French regulator extends three 3 DAB+ trials
27.09.2016 - France - France
The French regulator (CSA) has authorised the continued broadcast of 7 Radio France radio stations in the East of Paris, until 28 March 2017 as well as the DAB+ trials also happening in the south west of Paris and in Nantes.
From La Letre Pro :

Head of Radio France in favour of DAB+
WorldDAB Members News - 21.09.2016 - Radio France - France - France
The head of Radio France, Mathieu Gallet, said DAB+ could be interesting for broadcasting certain programmes that currently have poor coverage with FM due to limited frequency availability (FIP, Mouv), and possibly also France Musique for better quality of sound : "If the state will support us financially, I have no problem with DAB+".

Digital radio growth in major markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific
19.09.2016 - France - France
Nearly 50 million receivers were sold through the major countries, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and Australia (48232000). In France, 292,000 DAB+ receivers have been sold into the distribution network.

50 million digital receivers sold in major markets
15.09.2016 - France - France
WorldDAB publishes its latest market figures, revealing that 50 million receivers have been sold in the major markets across the world. Other statistics include coverage mobility (main road network) and the overall population coverage, sales of receivers, the penetration rate in homes and, for the first time, the number of national stations available on DAB/DAB + made in relation to those available on the FM band.
From La Letrre Pro:

All of France to have DAB+ signal by 2023
06.09.2016 - France - France
Better sound (stereo or multichannel), adding or not synchronized data to the audio (scrolling text, images, information, websites), enrichment of radio offering (more stations than FM alone), broadcast cost lower than that of FM. Digital radio broadcasting has several key advantages which play in its favor. And yet France hastens slowly.
From Le Monde:

Select Country:

Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 63.0 million
Population coverage: Sparkline Graph 19%
Services: 122 DAB+
New cars with DAB/DAB+ as standard: Sparkline Graph 15%
Last update: 22.07.2016

Useful Links

ION 2009-258 of 5 March 2009 on audiovisual communication and the new public television service
Regulator (The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA))
Deliberation No. 2013-31 of 16 October 2013 amending Resolution No. 2013-1 of 15 January 2013 relating to the fixing of rules for sharing the radio resource of digital terrestrial radio band III
Association pour la radio numérique DR
RNT Lyon Trial
RNT Nantes Trial
RNT promotional video