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Communications Minister Lindén to use an amendment to the law to extend programme licences to 2016

Communications Minister Lindén to use an amendment to the law to extend programme licences to 2016

Press release 22.01.2009 13.14 fi sv en

Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén has decided to allow a change in the law in order to extend programme licences for television multiplexes B and C up to the end of August 2016. In addition, there will soon be announcements for applications for completely new operating licences for multiplexes E and F.

The decision will mean that MTV Oy, Subtv Oy, Sanoma Television Oy, Suomen Urheilutelevisio Oy, C More Entertainment Finland Oy, TV5 Finland Oy, The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Turun Kaapelitelevisio Oy could receive a government-approved permit to continue their TV operations without their licences having to be reapplied for.

Lindén revealed her decision at a Viestintäfoorumi (Communications Forum) on 21 January. The Bill to amend the Finnish Act on Television and Radio Operations will most likely be introduced in Parliament at the end of spring.

The programme licences will expire in August 2010, and current legislation does not allow such licences to be valid for more than 10 years. The current licences will have been in effect for the maximum period currently allowed under the law.

The Communications Minister is justifying her decision by pointing out that the extension is fair to both consumers and TV operators.

"The vacant network licences for multiplexes A, B and C are based on current broadcasting standards and, when granted, will be valid until 2016," Lindén remarks. "Consumers can be sure that their receivers will work at least until 2017."

"The criteria for network licences won't alter, because it is such a short time since the digital switchover. In 2016 we will take another look at the network and programme licence situation.

"Television is being revolutionised both here and elsewhere. TV habits are changing and technology offers new opportunities and potential. An overall re-evaluation of licensing policy needs to be made in the light of these changes," Lindén explains.

As a counterweight to the extension for current licence holders, Communications Minister Lindén wants to increase choice by inviting applications for new licences. There is broadcasting capacity at present in the current E multiplex.

Furthermore, by the end of 2010, an entirely new F multiplex will also have been introduced. For that, licences will be granted on a technology-neutral basis, either for mobile or conventional terrestrial TV distribution.

"The chance to apply for vacant E multiplex or the new F multiplex licences will mean opportunities for new operators to come into the market. Mobile television could also play an important role. I believe that more distribution options and greater choice are very likely to reform and modernise the Finnish TV market and revitalise Finnish content production," says Lindén.

Further information:

Mr Aleksi Randell, Special Adviser to the Minister of Communications,
tel. +358 400 500 822