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The Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has defined the prices and conditions for access to Swisscom's cable ducts. The monthly price for joint use of cable ducts has been reduced by approximately 50% for the years 2007 and 2008.
At the request of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), the Federal Council has held discussions on the development of broadband in Switzerland.
From 1 January 2010, the Federal Office of Communications will take up from the Federal Office of Energy the responsibility for the enforcement of the Ordinance on Electromagnetic Compatibility (OEMC). OFCOM will therefore be responsible for issues relating to interference due to electromagnetic fields. Today the Federal Council gave the green light for this transfer. It also approved the complete revision of the ordinance to harmonise it with the European legislation.
Within the framework of the Swiss presidency of the Council of Europe, Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger took part in the opening of the 4th UNO Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheik.
OFCOM carried out a survey of working conditions in the telecoms sector for the second time. Thanks to the high quality of the data, reliable results are provided. These enable telecommunications service providers to gauge their working conditions and compare them with those of the sector.
This year's Knights of Communication come from Zurich, Chur and Lucerne. On 10 November 2009, five projects which promote access for all to information and communication technologies (ICT) were honoured in Solothurn. The competition's patron, Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger, personally presented the winners with their awards at the "Competent use of the new media" event. The Knights of Communication is a Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) competition which has been held since 2001.
ComCom has instructed OFCOM to prepare the allocation of mobile radio frequencies which are either currently free or which will become free in the foreseeable future. ComCom is expected to launch the public invitation to tender for these frequencies in the course of the next year. The allocation of frequencies will take place by auction.
The local Zurich radio station RMC wishes to transfer its VHF licence to Energy Zurich. The canton and city of Zurich, the VHF radio stations in the Zurich area and interested organisations can express their opinions in this regard.
The Federal Council adopted the amendment to the implementing ordinances relating to the Telecommunications Act (TCA). These amendments mean, among other things, that consumers are better protected and informed when they use their mobile telephone abroad or consume value-added services.
From the beginning of 2010, local radio stations which broadcast analogue programme services on the VHF band will also be able to broadcast other programme services digitally on these frequencies. The Federal Council today gave the green light for amendments to ordinances relating to radio and television.
The round table on rolling out the optical fibre network to homes (Fibre To The Home - FTTH) and the corresponding working groups are producing concrete results: the major players are in agreement on uniform technical standards. Hence there are no longer any technical barriers to the rapid expansion of the fibre-optic network. In addition, coordination will be able to prevent the parallel construction of new networks, by laying multiple fibres in every building (multiple fibre model). At the same time the participants in the round table are agreed that all providers must have access to the fibre-optic network under the same conditions, in order to protect end-users‘ freedom of choice.
The Federal Administrative Court rejected an appeal by Radio Energy Zürich. By doing so, it confirmed the procedure of the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) regarding VHF licensing for the Zurich-Glarus region. Radio Energy Zürich will have to definitively cease VHF transmissions within three months at the latest. However, it can continue to provide its programme digitally via DAB or over wires (cable networks, the internet).
DETEC is sending the draft version of the revised Radio and Television Ordinance (RTVO) to interested parties for consultation. The main reason for the revision of the RTVO are changes in international regulations.
DETEC approved the new statutes for SRG SSR idée suisse (SRG). In these statutes, the structural reforms demanded by the Federal Council in November 2007 have been implemented.
DETEC approved the take-over of a majority holding in Radio Basel 1 AG by "Media für Erwachsene AG" (MFE). Christian Heeb and the German businessman Karlheinz Kögel are behind MFE.
How are the electronic media in Switzerland, especially the SRG, complying with their performance mandate? To answer this question, control mechanisms have been introduced as explained by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) in its 2009 media seminar. Professor Joachim Trebbe from Fribourg University presented the results of the analysis of programme services provided by the SRG television broadcaster in 2008. In addition, the event provided an opportunity to compare the Swiss telecommunications market with the countries in the European Community and draw up a report.
To promote the professional development of programme makers in radio and TV, the Federal Office of Communications is awarding CHF 90,000 to private radio stations and regional television broadcasters with a licence. These broadcasters and their associations can submit applications for financial support for professional development courses until the end of August 2009.
OFCOM is making available the first two short numbers in the 116xyz format. As in the rest of Europe, these numbers are reserved for telephone services providing support and assistance to the population.
How are the new communications services and technologies influencing the dissemination of information? This question was at the heart of the debate when the European ministers responsible for media and new communications services met on 28 and 29 May 2009 in Reykjavik. The head of the Swiss delegation drew attention to the professional responsibility for services such as search engines, internet service providers or blogs. Frédéric Riehl, head of the Swiss delegation and OFCOM Vice Director, was appointed vice president of the summit.
ComCom has renewed the GMS mobile telephony licences of Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom until the end of 2013. Thanks to a minor reallocation of frequencies, ComCom is now enabling all three licensees to use the 900 MHz frequency range, which has benefits in terms of transmission technology, also for UMTS applications.
OFCOM announced the „Knights of Communication" competition. This competition under the patronage of Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger honours projects that make a significant contribution to the information society. Total prize money of CHF 35,000 will be awarded, with CHF 5,000 of this sum reserved for the „Security and confidence" special prize.
For the third time, ComCom debated questions related to opening up households to fibre-optic networks with ten heads of Swiss companies at a round-table discussion. Participants learned with satisfaction that certain general principles are beginning to become established in the expansion of glass fibre in Switzerland. Also, the three working groups set up in December 2008 have drawn up their initial concrete results. There are now solid foundations for consolidating models of cooperation between the players in the market.
The transfer of the Radio Buzz FM licence to One FM received the green light from DETEC. The Department came to this decision after One FM gave commitments to improve its information offering; this was the area responsible for the broadcaster not being considered for licensing last year.
OFCOM launched a public consultation on the possibility of awarding mobile radio frequencies which are free or which would become free in 2013 and 2016. By doing so, OFCOM wishes to allow interested parties to give their comments and to determine the requirements and intentions of the players concerned.
As part of a feasibility study, a working group with representatives from OFCOM, two independent frequency specialists and a representative of Radio Energy found that there are at present no free frequencies for the Zurich - Glarus coverage area. Viewed in purely technical terms, additional frequencies for another broadcaster could be introduced in a time-consuming and complicated process. However, DETEC is not considering this for reasons related to media policy and constitutional law.
Cablecom GmbH must broadcast Schweizer Sportfernsehen (SSF - Swiss Sport TV) in analogue. The application from the TV broadcaster for a „must-carry" obligation was approved by the OFCOM.
In future, licensed VHF radio stations and regional TV stations must have their quality assurance systems assessed regularly. OFCOM recognised four companies which will perform such assessments.
OFCOM is issuing a tender for analysis of private radio and television programme services.
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