Jean-Marc Dubreuil, WorldDAB
2018 will be remembered as the year that France moved to DAB+ – with new services planned across the country and the decision to adopt DAB+ branding and move away from ‘RNT.’
At the European Radio Show last month, there was constant talk of DAB+ and an enthusiasm from all parties to make a success of the technology. The ambition was best summed up by Nicolas Curien, Council Member from the CSA, who concluded his speech with: “DAB+: du + pour la radio” or “DAB+: a plus for radio”.
Two months on from the 2017 WorldDAB General Assembly in Paris, CSA chairman Olivier Schrameck and Nicolas Curien outlined their plans for the accelerated rollout of DAB+ services.
The immediate target is to cover 20% of the population by the end of 2018. This will happen with Lille, Strasbourg and Lyon starting DAB+ coverage. This is one of the 4 stages described by the CSA that will trigger legislation that all receivers be digitally compatible. Ultimately, the overall target is to ensure 70% population coverage of DAB+ by 2020. The last remaining question is related to the mainroad coverage. A consultation is expected in H1’2018
From RNT to DAB+
The other big news was the decision to adopt the DAB+ branding and move away from ‘RNT’, which had previously been used when referring to DAB in France.
The move will ensure uniformity of terminology with the rest of the world, making it much easier to communicate and market the technology to listeners. The move is supported by the proposed usage of the DAB+ logos to market the standard going forward.
In the WorldDAB conference session “DAB+ for France,” delegates heard from Digitalradio Deutschland on how the German DAB+ logo was produced and an update on which other markets are already using the logo. They also heard from advanced DAB+ markets on the progress with digital switchover, the cross-industry work taking place to improve the user experience for radio in the car, and from Italy on the DAB expansion plans of public service broadcaster RAI.
The 2018 European Radio Show marked a turning point for DAB+ in France, with the term ‘RNT’ firmly in the past. The enthusiasm and energy from industry players was tangible, and we can now look forward to seeing the first results later this year, with more cities and principal roads covered by DAB+.