France may add six new FTA DTT channels

09.57 Europe/London, October 10, 2011 By Robert Briel

The French media regulator CSA may issue licences for six new free-to-air channels on the digital terrestrial network, while plans to switch to DVB-T2 may put on hold, reports Le Figaro.

According to the newspaper, the regulator will launch a tender for six new FTA channels before the end of the year. The competition will be open to all private broadcasters, after the European Commission ruled that giving away ‘bonus channels’ to the so-called ‘historical broadcasters’ is contrary to European law.
By opening up the tender to all parties and increasing the number of available channels to six, the government is protecting the interests of the traditional channels (TF1, Canal+, M6) as well as smaller broadcasters (notably NRJ Group and NextRadioTV) and newcomers (such as the football channel L’Équipe T)
Most broadcasters have already laid put plans for these new channels. TF1 plans to broadcast TV FTA, M6 wants to add M6Famille and Canal+ plans Canal 20. The NRJ Group plans Chérie HD and NextRadioTV RMC Sport.
By offering more FTA channels, the government expects to ease the pain for all the broadcasters.
Meanwhile, the authorities are also considering to defer from implementing the DVB-T2 standard in order not to complicate things further in this difficult dossier.