Government proposes to waive must-carry obligation for radio programming, comments invited on the proposal

Press release 05.09.2022 10.45 fi sv en

Person using a radio. (Image: Shutterstock)

On 5 September 2022, the Ministry of Transport and Communications sent out an invitation to comment a draft proposal for amending the Act on Electronic Communications Services. According to the proposal, the must-carry obligation would be waived.

The current must-carry obligation requires telecom operators providing cable television network services to transmit the television and radio programming of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in their networks. In addition, it obliges the administrators of joint antenna networks, such as housing companies, to ensure that the YLE television and radio broadcasts are available in their systems.

The Government proposes that the must-carry obligation for radio broadcasts be waived in terms of both telecom operators and administrators of joint antenna networks. This would allow more efficient use of the network and higher quality cable broadband connections. The proposal makes no amendments to the must-carry obligation for television broadcasts.

The number of cable radio users is small in relation to the number of cable television users, for example. The transition from cable radio to other forms of reception may be challenging to some users. However, inexpensive, alternative methods with easy access are available. For example, YLE channels are available online or via a radio receiver using terrestrial antenna networks.

According to an estimate by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, waiving the must-carry obligation for radio programmes would not have a significant adverse effect on the emergency warning system. The YLE emergency warning system is based on multi-channel communication: at present YLE transmits warnings on the radio in accordance with law and, if so decided by the authority submitting the warning, also on television. Emergency warnings are also transmitted to 112 Finland mobile applications.

Further needs to amend the Act are being examined

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has initiated preliminary reviews on certain further needs to amend the Act on Electronic Communications Services. For example, the efficiency of the control service of fixed-term telephone subscriptions and the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts will be reviewed.

It will also be examined whether television and radio programme licences can be addressed on the basis of national security and with due attention to citizens’ fundamental rights. Other issues that might require amendment, such as the effectiveness of the appeal provisions in the Act, will also be considered.

What's next?

The deadline for comments on the draft proposal is 2 October 2022. Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi or by email to kirjaamo.lvm@gov.fi. Following the public consultation, the preparations of the Act will continue by Ministry officials.

The amendment to the must-carry obligation for radio broadcasts is scheduled to apply as of 1 January 2024.

Inquiries:

Roosa Patrakka, Coordinator, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 192

Aino Sipari, Director of Unit, aino.sipari(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 011