About half a million French homes could find themselves outside regions reached by digital-terrestrial TV when the country switches off its analogue broadcasts in 2011, according to Alain MÃ©ar, vice-president of media regulator the CSA.
MÃ©ar told French parliamentarians worried about the impact of switchover that about 500,000 homes could be affected. The parliamentarians concerns have already led to a suspension of the examination of a text on the digital divide. BÃ©ar and CSA president Michel Boyon were questioned about concerns that up to 1.3 million households could lose their TV signals, based on figures supplied by transmission services provider TDF. MÃ©ar said that the 500,000 figure was more realistic and pointed out that the number could be reduced by increasing the power at transmitters serving 150,000 homes in mountainous regions.
While a 2007 law has specified that DTT must reach 95% of the French population, and the CSA has adopted a rule that signals must reach 91% of the population of each individual department, a number of politicians have expressed concern that fewer people in their own regions will be able to view digital TV than were able to receive analogue transmissions.