“We have moved forward in stages. At first, we were a state-owned company for radio and TV transmission. In later years, we focused on managing audio and visual transmission. In 2002 we were acquired by private investors, and today we are still owned by three major shareholders,” points out Olivier Huart, CEO. “We are owners of transmission points, operating some 13 900 sites, including towers and roofs. These towers are equipped with our broadcasting antennae, and we are also renting them out to telecommunications providers, known as co-towering.”
TDF has always focused on terrestrial transmission of TV signals via antennae. In addition, it rents its antennae towers to telecommunications providers and has entered the fiber-optic cable market.
“Some years ago, we experienced a decrease in turnover, but in the past eight years we have gained momentum again, with this year being the first one for some time with a small growth. Restructuring our activities has helped us get back on track again,” says Mr. Huart.
“TDF, today, is a company with a solid base of which I am very proud. We now want to consolidate our leadership as an open, neutral and independent operator in very high speed internet for media and telecoms, mobile and landline” says Mr. Huart.
“Regarding our audiovisual activities, which form our traditional business area, we are convinced that innovation is the key to growth. DTT remains the primary platform used to receive televisual signals in France, but we must look to the long-term goals of tomorrow. These long-term goals (the Summer Olympics 2024 in France) are very exciting and demand that the necessary modernization of the DTT platform is carried out. We are cooperating closely with the Higher Council for Audio-visual Media (CSA) to develop the DTT platform towards the UHD norm (Ultra High Definition)” says Mr. Huart.
In the telecommunications sector, in which TDF’s development is at full speed, recent years have been shaped by the growing demand for full coverage by the mobile communications network. In order to meet this demand, TDF has set itself a target to double its transmitter infrastructure (towers) in the next ten years and to support its customers, the operators and users of digital networks, in their transformation towards ever-faster broadband.
“Geographic digital expansion is part of our DNA as an infrastructure operator,” says Mr. Huart. “We have always invested in the heart of the regions. Optical fiber is a project of the future that follows on from the expansion of its audio-visual distribution services, the position of its antennae on high ground, broadband connection via its regional data hubs, its connection solutions – all in the service of the telecoms operators, media players, companies and municipalities.” TDF is currently investing in less densely populated regions as part of its 25-year concession contract.
“While optical fiber was still seen as a mainly hypothetical possibility, in 2017 it became our latest and most promising activity,” says Mr. Huart. “I am very proud of the work we have done. We have already beaten the competition in four regions: in February 2017, the public network (RIP) in Val d’Oise (85,000 connections needed to connect 116 towns), in June the AMEI (Investment Initiative) in Yvelines (100,000 connections to connect 158 towns, in December the public network in Val de Loire (306,000 connections covering 513 towns and most recently in February 2018, the public network for Maine-et-Loire (220,000 connections covering 142 towns).