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EC launches procedure against French DTT ‘bonus’ channels -
EC launches procedure against French DTT ‘bonus’ channels
The European Commission has launched an infraction procedure against France concerning the plans of the French government to give ‘bonus’ digital-terrestrial channels to the country’s main commercial broadcasters following digital switchover.
Under a 2007 law, commercial channels that broadcast over-the-air in analogue – namely TF1, M6 and Canal Plus – are to automatically receive a so-called bonus channel when analogue broadcasting is shut down at the end of next year, as compensation for the loss of analogue frequencies. However, new digital-terrestrial broadcasters including NRJ, BFM, Bolloré, AB and Lagardère have contested the legality of this, given that current analogue licences were set to expire at the start of 2012 (or, in the case of Canal Plus, at the end of this year).
The EC has said that the allocation of the three channels must be transparent and non-discriminatory, with an open call for candidates to operate them. The French government now has two months to respond to the Commission.