MoTC sends proposed legislative reforms to Parliament

16 Jun 2020

Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Liikenne-ja viestintaministerio, MoTC) has outlined proposed reforms to the Act on Electronic Communications Services, with a view to implementing the requirements of the EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services (the so-called ‘AVMS Directive’) and the European Electronic Communications Code (the EECC, or the Telecoms Package Directive).

In a press release regarding the matter, the MoTC noted that among the key proposals being made are: a reduction of the maximum duration of fixed-period mobile subscriptions, from 24 months to twelve; the raising of the minimum speed of the universal service broadband from 2Mbps to 5Mbps; and a capping of the rate for calling universal access numbers at no more than the cost of calling mobile or local fixed line numbers. Further, the MoTC has also proposed a requirement for operators to notify the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Liikenne- ja viestintavirasto, Traficom) six months before they intend to remove or replace legacy networks, such as copper infrastructure.

With regards to plans designed to bolster network investment, the revised Act will reportedly provide for ‘new network licence procedures that are applicable to certain frequencies’, although ‘the possibility to continue the validity of the network licences granted would be added into the Act’. Additionally, the MoTC has proposed that the updated legislation enable the renewing of a network licence without an open application procedure, and a proposal designed to facilitate the construction of 5G base stations – as per the updated Act. Here it suggests that no administrative licence granted by an authority would be needed for the construction or deployment of a 5G base station in a subregion, ‘unless otherwise required by reasons related to either general safety or the protection of buildings or areas with valuable architecture, history or nature’.

The MoTC’s proposals were presented to Parliament last week (on 11 June), and will now be considered in a preliminary debate in a plenary session at a date yet to be announced. After the preliminary debate, the proposal will be referred to a committee, which in turn will draft a report to then be discussed in a plenary session. As it stands, the proposed revisions to the Act are scheduled to enter into force on 21 December 2020.