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The started again terrestrial digital radio

Publication date: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Letter of the CSA n°260 - May 2012


Since 2005, the Council works with the development of the terrestrial digital radio (RNT). Return on an uninterrupted commitment which results today in starting again the RNT with several calls for candidate.

The hertzian diffusion of the digital radio, commonly called terrestrial digital radio (RNT), is the object of developments since the beginning as of years 1990. This mode of transmission, which supposes a digitalization preliminary to the transmission of the signal, is based on the principle of the multiplexing: whereas in analogical mode, such as FM, a frequency conveys only one radio at the same time, in RNT each frequency conveys several services of radio, their number varying according to the flow which is allocated individually.

Dialogue with the first call for candidate

By 2005, the Council was concerned with work out the future landscape of the terrestrial digital radio by collecting the opinion of the actors of the world of the radio, within the framework of several public consultations. In 2007, following these consultations, the professionals met within several working groups. At the end of this conciliation work deepened, a broad consensus emerged in favour of a fast launching of the digital radio on a ground network using bands III and L.

The Government having published in December 2007 the decree approving the choice of standard T-DMB for the diffusion of the digital radio, the Council launched a first call for candidate on March 26th, 2008 on 19 great urban areas (of which Paris), accounting for 30% of the French population. This call was modified in order to substitute channels bandages of them III with the whole of the channels initially planned in band L, which also answered a request expressed by the editors of services of radio.

In 2009, the national diagram of re-use of the frequencies released by the stop of the analogical diffusion of television provided that the whole of band III could be affected with the diffusion of the RNT after the extinction of the analogical diffusion of Canal+. But the latter, whose authorization of diffusion in analogical mode expired on December 6th, 2010, expressed its will to proceed to a spread out stop of this diffusion to pass to the digital whole. On May 26th, 2009, the call was thus closed on 16 zones, for which it was not possible to release from the final frequencies. This same day, the Council selected the radios for the three other zones concerned with the call: Paris, Marseilles and Nice-Cannes. That made it possible to offer from 7 to 13 new radios on each one of these zones.

To engage for the RNT

In order to continue the development of the digital radio, the conciliation work of the Council was supplemented by a new public consultation launched in June 2009. It related on the use of the allocated total resource to the digital radio and to the definition of the objectives of cover of the services.

The Council also set up in November 2009 a mission of deployment of the RNT. Chaired by Rachid Arhab and Alain Méar, it gathered the representatives of the editors of public and deprived radiophonic services, of the technical diffusers, the manufacturers, the ministry for the culture and the communication and the secretariat of State to the futurology and the development of the digital economy.

On April 8th, 2010, the Council examined the assessment of work of the mission and chose to reaffirm its commitment to apply the relative law to the RNT as soon as possible. He considered that a strong commitment of the public authorities was an essential condition with the success of the RNT, and a precondition to the delivery of the authorizations in the three zones which is the object of the call for candidate.

On May 27th, 2010, the Prime Minister entrusted to Mr. David Kessler a mission of reflection on the future of the RNT. Given on March 18th, 2011, his report recommended in particular the installation of an observatory of the digital radio. Gathering under the aegis of the Council of the representatives of the radios, of the manufacturers of receivers, the diffusers and the public authorities, the observatory met on October 13th, 2011 and allowed to propose the European French experiments and experience feedbacks (intervening of Belgium, Switzerland and Germany) (Nantes and Lyon).

Experiments of growing number

The Council authorized, since 2007, several experiments of diffusion of RNT:
- technical experiments in T-DMB/Usually + and DRM+ in Nantes (GRAM), Brest (Kenta Electronic) and Rouen (RANUTER);
- demonstrations RNT in T-DMB and Usually + in Paris (TDF, TowerCast, VDL), Lyon (TDF and VDL) and Marseilles (RAJE).

These experiments each time integrate (except Kenta Electronic, which diffuses a musical wire not identified) of the radios as well associative as commercial, whether they are local, regional or national.

2012, the year of the revival

From now on, the Council wishes that the digital radio be able concretely to succeed and become a reality for the listeners. This is why it decided, on April 12th, 2012, to start again the call of March 2008 by taking of account the evolutions since then occurred: disappearance of some of the selected radios, appearance of new radios likely to stand as candidates, increase in the ascribable available resource. This revival understands the actualization of the resource put at the call, the invitation made with the 175 radios candidates in 2008 in Marseilles, Nice or Paris to update their file, the opening to new candidates of the possibility of presenting a dossier and fixing to May 31st, 2012 of the new deadline of deposit of the candidatures. The Council is given like objective to deliver the authorizations with the services of radio in the zones of Marseilles, Nice and Paris before the end of 2012.

The Council in addition launched on November 3rd, 2011 a call for candidate for the distribution of services of digital radio in band L on the whole of the metropolitan territory. Two dossiers, presented respectively by Digital Wave and digital Radio association bandages L (RANUBAL) of them, arrived at the Council to the deadline fixed at February 27th, 2012. They were considered to be admissible on April 4th, 2012. The Council currently proceeds, with the territorial committees of audio-visual (CTA), with their instruction for a selection at the latest in September 2012. The service offering of radio proposed by the candidates, who could be supplemented by services other than of radio or television, will have to be diversified.

Lastly, the Council decided, on May 10th, 2012, to launch a new series of calls out of digital radio, spread out from June 2012 to April 2013, in 20 new zones corresponding to 8 CTA. The first will relate to the zones of Mulhouse and Strasbourg. For each zone, the call will understand the totality of the available resource bandages of them III with allotments of various sizes (local, intermediate and wide) likely to answer the wishes of service road of the whole of the editors of radio. At the end of this series of calls, up to 68% of the metropolitan population will be able to profit from a cover out of terrestrial digital radio.

Beyond, the calendar adopted by the Council envisages calls until December 2013, making it possible to lead to a deployment of the digital radio on the whole of the metropolitan territory by 2015.

Towards an evolution of the standard of diffusion?

In December 2011, the Council seized the Government for the addition, beside the T-DMB, of the standard Usually + for the diffusion of the terrestrial digital radio. The addition of this standard, which can contribute to reduce the costs of diffusion, corresponds to the wishes of many operators. A public consultation was launched in April 2012 by the ministry for the economy, of finances and of the industry and by the ministry for the culture and the communication in order to collect the opinion of the actors concerned on opportunity of usually introducing the standards + into bands III and L. the contributions were expected for May 20th.

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