Tests of France’s proposed digital terrestrial radio system, which were scheduled to start this month, have been postponed, AFP news agency reported on 4 December. The move comes amid opposition from several sources - including private radio operators RTL, Europe 1, NRJ Group and NextRadioTV - and on the heels of a critical official report presented in November. According to the latter, stations would have to pay 126-188m euros more in annual transmission costs.
“We believe in digital terrestrial radio, but the distribution costs are too high,” Alain Weill from NextRadioTV, owner of RMC and BFM, told AFP. Weill added that the use of a standard other than that chosen - T-DMB (Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) - would reduce costs significantly.
Michel Boyon, head of the broadcasting regulator CSA, said tests were expected to start by the end of 2010, L’Express website reported on 4 December. “If radio does not digitize, it will slowly decline. It can not be the only media to stay out of the digital revolution,” he was quoted as saying during an online debate. “Internet radio is great, but it is totally inadequate in meeting listener demands,” he added.
Radio news website RadioActu said officials had gone for the wrong digital standard. “One day… the government will understand that the standard [originally developed for] Korean TV is not suitable for digital radio, and it will finally accept the evidence that it must adopt DAB+, like the rest of Europe.”
(Sources: AFP news agency, Paris, in French 4 Dec 09 L’Express website, Paris, in French 4 Dec 09 RadioActu.com, in French 4 Dec 09 via BBC Monitoring)