CSA seeks DTT pay and HD bidders

France's broadcasting regulator, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), has issued a call for applications for three pay channels and two free channels in HD. It has also endorsed extending the coverage of the France O (overseas) service to any metropolitan area in the coming weeks.

The CSA opened a public consultation in June 2009 on the use of space made available by ceasing distribution of pay services AB1 et Canal J, and more broadly, the use of frequencies made available following analogue switch off (ASO). On May 4, it approved the conclusions of the consultation, which will allow new DTT services.

France O will be available throughout the metropolitan area in the coming weeks. Transmission will take place on the DTT multiplex R1, while Arte, at its own request,

will be moved to multiplex R6.

Space made available on multiplex R3 will be assigned to a new pay channel. The Council decided, following meetings on pay-TV held in March, to enrich the pay-TV offer.The CSA also deliberated on the allocation of multiplex R7 and R8, which will become available in 2011, as a result of ASO. Part of R7 will be set aside for two pay channels. In order to meet the demands of households possessing high definition receivers, two slots will also be allocated to free HD channels, in addition to the existing TF1, France 2, Arte and M6 services in HD.

The remaining R7 allocation will be will be decided at a later date. As for multiplex R8, it will ensure the continued transmission of “compensatory channels” reserved for the broadcasters of TF1, M6 and Canal + in exchange for the full analogue switch off.

Services authorised following the application process can begin broadcasting in 2011.

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