France: digital switch over begins

France’s first digital switchover will take place tomorrow in the pilot city of Coulommiers, near Paris. The 14,700 inhabitants, who have prepared and, for the poorest ones, been helped since a few months to update their TV equipment, will then say farewell to analogue television.

According to public body France Télé Numérique, 94% of households were equipped with at least one digital TV set, twenty days before switchover.

The signal will be cut by French minister of Culture Christine Albanel, newly named Secretary of State for Prospective and digital economy development, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and CSA president Michel Boyon.

This year, the digital switchover will also concern pilot cities Kaysersberg (Alsace) and Cherbourg (Cotentin), where 200,000 people will be affected. The process will progress during 2010 to definitely end on November 30 2011.

Launched in 2005, DTT currently covers 87% of the population but analogue television is still a reality for 29% of French households.