France

Last update: 13-12-2013 - older versions

Key points

In January 2012 it was reported by the French newspaper ‘Les Echos’ that the CSA had requested the Ministry of Industry to include DAB+ in the technical standard for France. The consultation for this closed in May 2012 and the technical decree was released 16 August 2013, including DAB+ to the list of permitted standards. At the end of 2007, France’s Government announced that the official standard for digital radio in France would be DMB-A, to be marketed as Radio Numérique Terrestre (RNT).

At the end of 2013, the French Parliament will examine an update of the 1986 law about radio and television. Then the CSA should publish a timetable for a call for applications for tenders for digital terrestrial licenses for France’s next 20 biggest cities which will add up to 62% coverage. An additional tender will also allow to add DAB+ services to the 14 multiplexes in Paris, Marseille and Nice, as well as five more multiplexes in these towns.

In April 2012 the CSA re-launched a call of tender for three cities (Paris for seven multiplexes, Marseille and Nice for six multiplexes each). The four main commercial radio groups decided do not bid and the government did not allow the public service (Radio France) to pre-empt frequencies. At the beginning of October 2012 the CSA published the candidates selected for the three cities. At the beginning of 2014, six multiplexes will be on air in Paris, four in Marseille and four in Nice.

Roll out of terrestrial digital radio was scheduled to start in December 2009 but was postponed amid opposition from several sources, including private radio operators. The Prime Minister commissioned a further report by David Kessler, former chief executive France Culture, which was published in mid-2011 and suggested that the conditions had not been met for the full scale deployment of digital radio in France. The report suggested a moratorium of two to three years during which time the French market would look at
the deployment of digital radio in the rest of Europe. The report also stated that the government approved the CSA’s decision to allow further trials to continue.

The CSA is responsible for taking the findings of the Kessler report forward and in order to do this set up an ‘Observatory’ which includes all of the industry players. The publication of the Kessler report meant the market could move forward after a period of stagnation and to this end various trials were put on-air (Paris, Nantes, Marseille and Lyon).

Last update: 01-10-2013 - 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 and to Radio France who have a remit to provide the best possible service including coverage to the widest possible audience.

In Lyon TDF has broadcast a mix DAB+/DMB multiplex since 2008 with 10 to 12 radio stations. VDL also has
two multiplexes covering 85% of the regional population and some of the major highways. Details of coverage and coverage maps can be obtained from the project leaders, VDL and TDF.
Trial services are also on-air in Nantes expanding the coverage to such a level that if these services were to be granted full licenses it would mean the French law relating to mandatory inclusion of digital radio in all products once coverage reaches 20% of the population would be triggered.

Last update: 01-07-2013 - older versions

In this country there are

on air.

There are four regional trial multiplexes on air.

Last update: 01-10-2013 - older versions

Although the market has not yet launched, French consumers have already shown that there is a demand for new radio receiver products. Digital radio receivers capable of receiving DAB, DAB+ and DMB audio are available in the market and are selling in some of the major retailers (FNAC, DARTY, Boulanger, Auchan, Virgin). Pure, REVO, Tivoli, Dual, Philips, Roberts and Sony digital radio receivers are available to the French consumer.

Last update: 01-10-2013 - older versions

After the findings of the Kessler report France is now running further trials of the DAB family of standards. Trials currently on-air include:

RNT Lyon – A nine month consumer trial is being held in the Lyon area with 15 commercial broadcasters on three multiplexes covering 85% of the regional population. Two multiplexes are operated by VDL and one is operated by TDF. This trial started in April 2011 and has been granted a license to continue broadcasting and adding new stations and content. As this trial focuses on consumers, French network operator VDL, is raising awareness of digital radio through press conferences, a consumer website (www.rntlyon.fr), in-store promotions, public events, social networking and on-air marketing and promotional campaigns.

RNT Nantes – A trial is currently being held in the Nantes area of France in cooperation with GRAM, a group of local radio broadcasters. A promotional campaign was launched to promote digital radio to listeners in Nantes and Saint Nazaire.

There is also a field test currently being conducted in Marseille, with no radio content, just audio files.

Last update: 01-10-2013 - older versions

Key features of regulation for digital radio in France are;

  • DAB+ was added to the French standards in August 2013
  • Band III
  • Tenders for 3 cities (Paris, Nice and Marseilles) in Band III
  • Further 20 cities by the end of the year
  • No analogue switch-off date

Digital radio licences will be issued in France with a duration of 10 to 15 years and any broadcasters going digital will get a five year extension of their analogue licences. Simulcasting, associated data and audio-visual communication services will be permitted.

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 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, DMB will become mandatory in all devices which includes 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 in France 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. There has been some discussion of using the L-Band for coverage of motorways although this has not been confirmed.
Following a consultation on use of the L-Band last 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: 14-07-2014

Crooner Radio - one of several radio stations now available on DAB+ in Paris since June 2014, has engaged in several marketing activities to promote their availability on DAB+ in better sound quality. Fifty British Rolls Royce and Bentley cars crossed the Champs Elysees to officially launch Crooner Radio which now broadcasts via DAB+ to 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 a promotion on the air

Visit Radio Crooner's YouTube page

French independent radios make appeal to newly appointed Minister of Culture and Communication
03.09.2014 - France - France
Independent Radios (Les Indés Radios) used an advertisement to draw the Minister's attention to the issues of digital radio, a fair allocation of FM frequencies, and anti-competition law.
From La Lettre Pro: Read more... External Link

Fleur Pellerin appointed as French government’s new Minister for Culture and Communication
27.08.2014 - France - France
SIRTI (Syndicat Interprofessionnel des Radios et Télévisions Indépendantes) calls for the new minister to be bold and courageous in confronting the conservative attitude which is slowing down the growth of digital radio in France. “It is urgent that the new minister supports the deployment of digital radio in France to ensure its success”.
From La Lettre.Pro: Read more... External Link

Over 60 DAB stations on air a month after launch in France
28.07.2014 - France - France
French digital terrestrial radio services, launched in Paris, Marseille and Nice on 20 June, have so far attracted 62 stations, nine of which are transmitting in more than one city, according to broadcast regulator CSA.
From Telecompaper: Read more... External Link

Digital Radio Expands in France
26.07.2014 - France - France
Today some 62 radio stations in the country are broadcasting via DAB , including some stations not available on FM, says La Lettre Pro. Other radio stations are expected to begin broadcasting in DAB in the coming weeks.
From Radio World: Read more... External Link

Over 60 DAB stations on air a month after launch in France
26.07.2014 - France - France
French digital terrestrial radio services, launched in Paris, Marseille and Nice on 20 June, have so far attracted 62 stations, nine of which are transmitting in more than one city, according to broadcast regulator CSA.
From Telecompaper : Read more... External Link

Trace FM Radio launches in Paris on DAB
22.07.2014 - France - France
TRACE group, which is mainly aimed at young urban generation, has launched its FM radio TRACE in Paris, following the broadcasting licenses in Terrestrial Digital Radio (DAB) granted by the CSA. The cities of Marseille and Nice will soon be involved. The press release to introduce the project explained that TRACE FM is a "musical radio and expression to the new urban generation that constitute the heart of Target Trace since the group's inception in 2003" .
From Airofmelty: Read more... External Link

Demonstration in Ramouillet to support DAB radio
22.07.2014 - France - France
On 11 July, at Rambouillet, there was a demonstration in support of digital radio. This demonstration was supported by Continental Mediamobile, FIP, France Culture, France Inter, RVE andYvelines Radio.
From Yvelines Radio : Read more... External Link

"DAB for all motorists"
22.07.2014 - France - France
On 11th July at Rambouillet, there was a demonstration to support digital radio. For this demonstrations, two vehicles were equipped with a Continental digital receiver and the event was supported by Continental Mediamobile, FIP, France Culture, France Inter and RVE.
From Yvelines Radio : Read more... External Link

Digital Radio is already a success!
18.07.2014 - France - France
61 radio stations, of which 13 are new programmes not broadcast on FM, are now available via DAB+ in Paris, Marseille and Nice.
From Les Echo: Read more... External Link

France is key to extending digital radio coverage across Europe
WorldDMB News - 30.06.2014 - France - France
"This is the opportunity for France to join other European markets in embracing digital radio – to help develop the long term strategic positioning of the medium, both within in its own borders and across the continent." Download the full French press release by WorldDMB President Patrick Hannon.
PDF document Read more...

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Key Information

Status: regular
Population: 63.0 million
Last update: 01.07.2013

Useful Links

legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000020352071
Regulator (The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA))
www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000028134369&dateTexte=&categorieLien=id
Association pour la radio numérique DR
www.radionumerique.org
RNT Lyon Trial
RNT Nantes Trial
RNT promotional video