Traficom introduces commitments procedure in Finnish SMP regulation

Traficom introduces commitments procedure in Finnish SMP regulation

Traficom released a press release on 18 March stating that they have re-evaluated the Finnish TV and FM broadcasting market. It means a new step in the market review after two draft decisions and national hearings last year. There is no new draft decision available yet but the biggest change would seem to be introduction of ‘commitments procedure’ as part of the new decision. The procedure was adopted into the Finnish legislation on 1 January 2021 based on the European Electronic Communications Code.

Traficom does not provide any details on targeted or minimum commitments. Instead, Traficom gives Digita, the SMP operator, a chance to provide a list of commitments to voluntarily cure competition problems in the market. What Traficom makes clear, however, is that it continues to designate Digita as having SMP. Further, Traficom says that the new evaluation has led to no material changes in the conclusions regarding the market.   

The draft SMP decision of September 2020 included obligations on TV and FM broadcasting, access to FM antenna capacity and cost-oriented pricing. Traficom also introduced price ceiling regulation in one of the TV multiplexes; for the first time in the market but with a limited scope. Since Traficom now states that the competition concerns have not changed, one would assume that Digita should commit to measures that would cure the market in a similar fashion as the previously proposed SMP obligations would. In short, these might include fair access to antenna capacity by alternative FM broadcasters as well as predictable and probably lower prices in TV broadcasting.

Digita has time until 9 April 2021 to provide its set of commitments. If they are reasonable, Traficom runs a market test, evaluates the commitments and conducts a national hearing. The commitments may lead to more relaxed obligations in the new SMP decision.