In both the telecommunications and media sectors, questions are increasingly being posed which call for fundamental clarification. In accordance with a parliamentary mandate from last autumn, the Federal Council has analysed the telecommunications market and discussed the possible need to take action. The report has been drawn up within OFCOM. In 2011, the Federal Council will also submit a report on developments in the media, in fulfilment of a postulate from the National Council. In this context OFCOM has commissioned scientific studies and is currently engaged in evaluating the results and preparing the report.
The use of new technologies may sometimes be associated with unpleasant surprises for consumers. One instance is the use of mobile phones abroad or the purchase of devices on the internet or in other countries which can interfere with radio communications in Switzerland. To avoid unpleasant experiences, on 1 July regulations entered into force to improve transparency regarding roaming tariffs. OFCOM has also launched an information campaign to draw attention to the problems associated with the use of imported telecommunications equipment.
In the reporting year, the discussion about reception fees for radio and television has intensified. It sometimes creates the impression that the specific economic characteristics of the media landscape in Switzerland are being forgotten. For example, many people are apparently no longer aware that in the small Swiss markets, with their different languages, television in particular is not possible without substantial public funding. Out of 100 francs that are paid in fees in German-speaking Switzerland, almost 40 go to French-speaking or to Italian-speaking Switzerland. If we take only the proportion of fees paid for Germanspeaking Switzerland, these are lower than those paid in Germany or Austria, for example. The reception fees are an important contribution to solidarity, ensuring that all linguistic regions can be provided with the media services which are essential in a multilingual direct democracy.
Dumermuth Martin, Director