Translation with SYSTRAN Links

A new dash for Usually +: 12 keys to understand the challenges of them

Official statement of the Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The year 2018 will mark a turning in the development of Usually +, the technology of the terrestrial digital radio. In order to accelerate this development, the Superior council of audio-visual learns the lessons from a first assessment. He thus solicited the actors through a public consultation (results of the synthesis here). On the basis of answer to this consultation, it publishes today new methods for the calls for candidate as well as a new calendar (roadmap here). The challenge is of importance. How to understand best? Here 12 keys for any knowledge on Usually +, this technology which makes a marked improvement to the radio operator media.


1. What Usually +?

The terrestrial digital radio, RNT or Usually in English (Audio DIGITAL Broadcasting) are, under the world standard Usually +, a technology of digital modulation and transmission of the radio. In France, this technology uses, following the example of FM (roadmap here) or of the DVB, the terrestrial network of diffusion hertzian. It meets a great success in the Scandinavian countries, but it is also present in Germany, in England, in the Netherlands…

2. Which waveband?

Usually + waveband VHF occupies, known as also band III, which was used by analogical television, before the advent of the DVB in 2005. This band extends on the beach 174-223 Megahertz (MHz), while the FM band is located on 87-108 MHz; two technologies Usually + and FM are thus complementary one of the other: it is not necessary to release the FM band to usually deploy +.

3. Why speak about Usually + rather than about RNT?

  • First of all, because it is misleading to bring closer RNT and DVB. The DVB, as for it, was substituted on television analogical, while FM and Usually + can completely coexist.
  • Then, to avoid confusion enters the RNT and the digital radio online accessible via Internet, audio stream and podcast, or between the RNT and listening in streaming on the platforms and the social networks. Nothing to see!
  • Lastly, by privileging name Usually +, one uses a designation recognized on the levels European and world and one puts clearly ahead the technological change related to a new digital standard.

4. Which are the benefit of Usually +?

The standard Usually + brings substantial advantages, with the listeners as with the radios.

For the listeners:

  • its of better quality (“ I have the feeling that somebody plays of the guitar beside me ”);
  • better continuity of listening of mobility (“ I do not lose my preferred radio when I lead ”);
  • potential arrival of new stations (“ Not bad this new electro station! ») ;
  • enrichment of the audio stream by associated numerical data (“ I adored this piece and I have all information! »).

For the radios:

  • mutualisation of the costs of diffusion, the regrouping on the same frequency within a multiplexing;
  • extension of the surface of cover in a context of saturation of the FM band; the national radios would obtain for their part a surface of cover comparable with that which offers to them today the Long waves, but at a lower cost 
  • insurance of a perennial persistence in the future digital ecosystem any IP, in synergy with the mobile networks 5G (technology LTE).

5. Which organization of the hertzian resource?

In order to allot the hertzian resource of band III, the CSA proceeds by the launching of calls to candidatures. Each call relates to a whole specified of zones, said allotments. An allotment can be of local, wide, or metropolitan scale. It corresponds, whatever its geographical influence, at only one frequency. This one must be shared between thirteen radios to the maximum, joined together within the same multiplexing. A radio data diffuses the same program on all the transmitters of the allotment on which it was selected.

6. Which geographical cuttings?

In France, the planning of the band III, that of Usually +, is such as any point of the metropolitan territory is covered by four “layers”: a local layer, an extended layer, and two national layers recovering the whole of the metropolitan territory.

  • The allotments of the local layer correspond to the basins of life defined by INSEE. They thus are very differentiated in terms from size from population.
  • The allotments of the wide layer form a cutting of the territory in vast zones of regional width, including each one at least a great urban area as well as the surrounding basins of life.
  • The two greater allotments relate to the totality of the hexagon with a quality of reception outdoor. The effective rate of cover depends amongst transmitters which will be installed. In the basic configuration, the 70% of the metropolitan population are covered located in the greatest urban areas and their periphery, like along the road axes and motorway connecting these urban areas; in this configuration, the annual cost of diffusion for each of the two multiplexings is estimated between 10 and 12 million euros, to share between thirteen radios.

7. Which lessons to draw from the previous deployments?

The trajectory of deployment adopted up to now consisted with:

  • to put in reserve the two allotments of the national layer;
  • systematically to deploy the allotments of the two layers wide and local, by covering in a homogeneous way the most populated basins of life and the least populated, according to a very progressive calendar, by “packages” of three or four zones, being spread out until the end of 2023.

The first returns of ground and the results of selection of the calls for candidate revealed that the large radios did not adhere to this diagram and that the small ones encountered a very serious problem of solvency. It was necessary thus all to reconsider, and very quickly, to give a new kick-off.

8. Which strategic inflection?

Reply: the “plan of the nodes and the arcs”. The objective is from now on to make “and viable quickly”, i.e. to conclude in the three years (2018-2020) a first phase of deployment of Usually +, partial but economically healthy, restricted at the densest zones of the territory, the nodes, and with the motorway main roads and lorry drivers who connect them, the arcs.

Compared to the trajectory previously considered, this implies:

  • to open from now on in the local layer only the centers of the great urban areas as well as the most important basins of life;
  • to continue, while accelerating it, the setting in call of all the wide allotments containing a basin of life of more than 175,000 inhabitants;
  • to open the two layers of the metropolitan resource, until now retentions.

9. Which calendar for the plan of the nodes and the arcs?

The implementation will be carried out according to the following calendar, adopted by the Council on December 20th, 2017:

  • in July 2018, launching of a first bearing call multirégional, simultaneously but separately, on fifteen zones centered on urban areas of more than 175,000 inhabitants, with, for each one of these zones, the opening of a wide allotment and a restricted number of local allotments;
  • one year later, in July 2019, launching of a second similar call multirégional of configuration, relating again to fifteen great zones;
  • with mid--2018, after dialogue with the actors and setting in consultation of an impact study, launching of a national call for the two metropolitan allotments.

The two multirégionaux calls will make it possible to cover the nodes in the capacity as reception indoor, and the national call, to cover the nodes and the arcs in the capacity as reception outdoor. Taking into account fifteen months the quasi-incompressible time between the launching of a call and the effective starting of the emissions, the calendar proposed makes it possible to complete the plan of the nodes and the arcs towards the end of the year 2020.

The threshold of 20% of cover, starting the legal requirement of installation of Usually + in the receivers, will be reached in any event before the end of 2018, after the starting of the emissions in Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg.

10. Model “editors” or “distributor”?

The legal form retained for the multirégionaux calls corresponds to the model “editors”, adopted for the previous calls. This model consists, for the CSA, to deliver individual authorizations to emit with each radio present on the same multiplexing. Then, in the two months following these authorizations, the CSA delivers an authorization with the operator of multiplexing which these radios themselves chose.

As regards the national call, an alternative diagram and is under investigation discussed with the actors: model “the distributor”, in which the CSA would select, not radios, but a technical and commercial operator said distributor, this last being then titular frequency and recruiting itself the radios which will constitute its bouquet of services. This model can be declined according to various alternatives of governance, of which some make it possible the radios to control the decisions of the distributor. On this particularly important aspect of the model of organization, like on several others, being in particular of the fixing of an objective and a speed of cover, or the possibility of unhookings, the design of the national call will require, in the first half of 2018, a narrow preliminary dialogue between the radios, it (S) candidate (S) with the role of distributor, and the CSA.

11. Which choice is it left to the operators?

The new device of deployment allows each operator, according to his type and its needs, to determine its own development strategy in Usually +:

  • for a local radio interested by a not very dense zone, to expect the second phase of deployment, after 2020.
  • for a local radio wishing to operate on a dense zone, candidater in 2018 or 2019 on the call multirégional including the local allotment corresponding.
  • for a regional radio or multi-cities wishing to increase its territorial influence, candidater on wide allotments or, alternatively, on a metropolitan allotment  for a national radio, candidater on a metropolitan allotment, and/or certain wide allotments and buildings where the FM reception is imperfect.

12. Where are the operations in progress?

Before the initialization of the plan of the nodes and arcs, several already committed operations must be continued:

  • validation of the sites for the multiplexings authorized on the wide and local allotments of the zone of Lille, the starting of the emissions being envisaged in April 2018;
  • even sequence for the zones of Lyon and Strasbourg with a few months of shift, starting being envisaged at the latest in September 2018;
  • in January 2018, selection of the candidatures following the bearing call on the zones of Rouen and Nantes;
  • in the first quarter 2018, launching of a bearing call on the zones of Bordeaux and Toulouse, as on the resource which will be made available to Paris, Marseilles and Nice after refitting of the multiplexings.