France lays groundwork to continue DAB+ rollout

French regulators have laid out a plan for the ongoing rollout of DAB+ radio technology in the country. Nicolas Curien of the Le Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) detailed the plan during the WorldDAB General Assembly. The regions of Lyon and Strasbourg are slated to receive licenses by the end of November 2017, followed by DAB+ service in the Hauts de France in March or April 2018. The CSA said there would also be two waves for rolling out DAB+ across larger geographic areas of the country, first in H1 2018 and second in H1 2019. The regulator is also considering a call for applications next year for two national multiplexes.

“I have two pieces of good news: the first is that the responses to the CSA’s public consultation have been numerous and extremely encouraging,” Curien said. “The second is that there is no bad news: DAB+ technology will finally be able to take off significantly in mainland France by the end of 2020. The plan that I like to call ‘nodes and arcs’ is on the way to becoming reality.”

Europe has been a leader in the digital radio shift. Norway was the first country to make a full transition to digital broadcasting, shutting down FM stations at the beginning of the year. DAB adoption has also been strong in the UK, where digital sources are securing greater shares of radio listening in the quarterly RAJAR reports.

Anna Washenko