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.

France's RAJE Added to DAB+ Lineup for Paris, Marseille, and Nice
24.04.2014 - France - France
Today, RAJE (a network of local radio stations in the southeast of France) was added to the DAB+ multiplex that covers Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, reports lalettre.pro. RAJE has two frequencies (90.3 and 102.5) that cover Avignon and Nimes.
From Radio magazine (press release): Read more... External Link

RAJE on DAB+ in Nantes andSaint-Nazaire
22.04.2014 - France - France
Since April 16, RAJE has joined 12 other radio station being broadcast on DAB+ in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire.
From La Lettre Pro Radio: Read more... External Link

Digital Terrestrial Radio arrives in France
07.03.2014 - France - France
On 20 June 2014 DAB+ will be available on air in the first three French cities and their surroundings: Paris, Marseille and Nice
From http://www.magazine-avantages.fr/: Read more... External Link

Radio Orient broadcasting trial services on DAB+ in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire
06.03.2014 - France - France
Since February 27 Radio Orient has been broadcasting in DAB+ in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, through a demonstration made by the GRAM (Groupement des Radios Associatives de la Métropole Nantaise ). This demonstration will continue until next summer.
From Radioactu: Read more... External Link

Le Salon de la Radio — for Radio
11.02.2014 - France - France
Sessions on tap for this year's edition include discussions on terrestrial digital radio and its evolution in France, a look at the importance of social media for radio stations, how to finance a webradio, and the best digital solutions for local broadcasters.
From Radio World: Read more... External Link

A history of digital radio in France
06.02.2014 - France - France
Fascinated by radio and a connoisseur of digital radio in France, Philippe Manach has gathered together all the stories on Digital Terrestrial Radio into a book which will be launched at The book will be officially presented at the upcoming Salon de la Radio in Paris, France.
From www.lalettre.pro: Read more... External Link

SNRL (National Union of Free Radios) at Salon de la Radio
03.02.2014 - France - France
Speakers from SNRL (National Union of Free Radios) will be participating in three sessions during Salon de la Radio during which delegates will gain insight into the roll out of digital radio in France.
From www.lalettre.pro: Read more... External Link

WorldDMB Among Presenters at Salon de la Radio in Paris
24.01.2014 - France - France
"Towards a successful launch of DAB in Europe" is the title of a seminar that will be held during the event. It's scheduled for Feb. 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Centre Etoile Saint-Honoré. This session will provide an opportunity to discuss the latest developments in digital radio in Europe. Among the speakers for the event will be Patrick Hannon, president of WorldDMB; Quétel Mathieu, vice president of SIRTI; and Jacqueline Bierhorst, responsible for the implementation of the DAB+ in the Netherlands.
From Radio magazine (press release): Read more... External Link

WorldDMB has strong presence at this year’s Salon de la Radio, Paris, 10 February
23.01.2014 - France - France
European experts on digital radio will be at Le Radio (9-11 February) to discuss the implementation of DAB+ in Europe and more specifically in France.
From http://www.lalettre.pro/: Read more... External Link

The start date for digital terrestrial radio in Marseille, Nice and Paris set at June 20, 2014
12.12.2013 - France - France
The Superior Council of Audiovisual set at Friday, June 20, 2014 the start date of the emissions authorized publishers in digital terrestrial radio in areas of Marseille, Nice and Paris.
From CSA France: Read more... External Link

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Key Information

Status: trial and/or regulation
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