France creates fund for ASO

The French prime minister François Fillon has decided to establish a new fund to subsidise lower income families to switch to digital television. The government sets aside between €40- 50 million for the project.

France is well on its way to completely digitalising its terrestrial transmitter network. Following similar schemes in other countries, the government has decided to help households on a low income or on social welfare which are now solely depenedent on analogue terrestrial reception.

The new fund will be used to pay up to 50% of the price of a new digital terrestrial tuner for what is called TNT (Télévision Numérique Terrestre, French for digital terrestrial television).

France plans to end the transition from analogue to digital before the end of 2011, in line with the European directive of a complete analogue switch-off in 2012. The official switch-off schedule is as follows:

– February 2,  2010: Alsace

– March 9, 2010: Lower Normandy

– May 18, 2010: Pays de la Loire

– June 8, 2010: Bretagne

– September 28, 2010: Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne

– October 19, 2010: Poitou-Charentes and the middle of the country

– November 2010: Franche-Comté and Bourgogne

– December 7, 2010: North of the country

– First quarter 2011: Picardie and Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Aquitaine and Limousin, Auvergne, Côte d’Azur and Corsica, Rhône.

– Second quarter 2011 (before November 30): Provence, Alpes, Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc-Roussillon.

For a map of the complete switch-over go to this overview created by the French news agency AFP.