The French government is considering delaying the launch of new digital-terrestrial channels in order to take advantage of the more spectrum-efficient DVB-T2 standard already used by countries including the UK (where it was used to launch HD channels on the platform) and Italy.
The government confirmed to local press on Monday that it had submitted a draft decree to Brussels for the implementation of DVB-T2 for new channels on the platform. This would act as a brake on take-up of any new channels, as new set-top boxes would be required to receive the signals.
The French government is currently set to award ‘bonus’ channels on the platform, following digital switchover, to pay TV broadcaster Canal Plus and commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6, which are set to launch in November. Canal Plus plans to launch a free-to-air channel, which has met with opposition from TF1 and M6. The award of the bonus channels has also attracted the attention of the European Commission, which warned France last year that it could be anti-competitive.
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