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Telecoms & Media 2012

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An overview of Polish Telecoms and Media regulations.

Communications policy

1 Policy

Summarise the regulatory framework for the telecoms and media sector. What is the policymaking procedure? Has the EU regulatory framework (including the market reviews) been fully transposed into your national law, as far as currently required?

The main aims of government and regulatory policy for the telecoms sector are to:

  • reduce the costs of telecommunications services in public fixed and mobile telephone networks;
  • ensure conditions for increasing access to broadband;
  • support the development of competition in the telecoms market;
  • promote new technologies, with regard to the principle of technological neutrality;
  • manage the radio frequency spectrum effectively; and
  • ensure compliance and proper use of the telecommunications equipment introduced to the market.

The Telecommunications Law generally adjusts Polish law to the EU regulations (including market reviews) included in electronic communication directives accepted by the European Parliament in 2002. Poland has not yet brought its Telecommunications Law in line with Directive 2009/140/EC and Directive 2009/136/EC.

State policy in the telecoms sector is managed by the minister of administration and digitalisation and the president of the Office of Electronic Communications UKE). The president of the UKE performs duties relating to the regulation of telecoms activities and frequency management, and cooperates with the minister of administration and digitalisation in drafting legislation, as well as with international telecoms organisations and relevant foreign national authorities. The main features of broadcasting sector policy include the gradual creation of a balanced, competitive market for broadcasting services, creation of a single market for production and distribution in the audio-visual sector, freedom of television transmission and promotion of Polish culture in Europe and European culture in Poland. State policy in the broadcasting sector is managed by the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). The Broadcasting Act generally brings Polish law in line with the EU regulations.

However, Poland is obliged to implement in full the provisions of audio-visual directives regarding on-demand audiovisual media services.

2 Convergence

Has the telecoms-specific regulation been amended to take account of the convergence of telecoms, media and IT? Are there different legal definitions of ‘telecoms’ and ‘media’?

There is no specific regulation pertaining to convergence. There are separate regulations for telecoms and media (the Telecommunications Law and Broadcasting Law), and the regulatory authorities, the president of the UKE and the KRRiT, cover distinct areas. The regulations of the Telecommunications Law, however, show that the legislature is conscious of the need to regulate this issue. The president of the UKE has been empowered in a number of regulatory instruments regarding technical aspects of television and radio broadcasting. The president of the UKE is also entitled to grant a radio frequency licence required to broadcast TV and radio programmes.

3 Broadcasting sector

Is broadcasting regulated separately from telecoms? If so, how? The broadcasting sector and content of programme transmission are regulated separately from telecoms under Polish law. The president of the UKE is the state authority responsible for telecoms sector matters. The KRRiT is the regulator for radio and television matters.

However, the law provides for close cooperation between these two authorities in certain areas and some broadcasting issues are regulated in the Telecommunications Law. Like public telephone networks, broadcast radio and television programmes disseminated through a data transmission system may only operate after an entry in the register maintained by the KRRiT. The above obligation does not apply to seven programmes listed in the Broadcasting Act (ie, three public programmes, including TVP1, TVP2 and a regional programme of Telewizja Polska SA, and four commercial programmes, including Telewizja Polsat SA, TVN SA, Polskie Media SA and Telewizja Puls Sp z.o.o.). With regard to radio frequency (RF) bands intended for the broadcasting of radio or television programmes, the president of the UKE is responsible for drafting and modifying frequency management plans in agreement with the president of the KRRiT on request or on his or her own initiative.

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Source: Arwid Mednis, Artur Salbert, Bożena Marciniak