Paris - Mar 14, 2012 - France's Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) will facilitate the introduction of digital radio across France in 2012, nearly four years after issuing a call for organizations to apply for licenses.
The rollout will be done in two stages: First, across Paris, Nice and Marseilles, permission will be granted among the nearly 100 applicants dating back to 2008. Second, applicants will be solicited from another 20 cities across France. The CSA estimates that these 23 cities across the country will provide coverage for about 50 percent of the population.
The CSA also expects to adopt an additional standard, DAB+, in addition to the previously adopted T-DMB standard.
The launch of digital radio in France is part of the 2007 law on the modernization of audiovisual broadcasting, but no dates were specified. Large private radio stations were said to be opposed, mainly because of the capital costs involved. There may be more to the story though; according to Rachid Arhab of the CSA, "Only 30 percent of the French people get 10 radio stations, or more. Digitalization will allow all of France to have as many radio stations as there are in Paris."