International aspects in the launch of radio stations - UKE

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International aspects in the launch of radio stations

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Opinion on legal and international aspects in the establishment of broadcasting transmission stations in the territory of Poland.

The President of URTiP, at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has commissioned a study concerning the requirements of international law with respect to transmission  stations for radio programmes with coverage over the territory of a third country. The  analysis was encouraged by an enquiry from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the possible launch of radio transmission in the territory of Belarus.

The content of the study is publicly available in its entirety. The study includes the following major conclusions:

1. All frequencies for radio transmission stations with coverage beyond the territory of Poland which are transferred by the President of URTiP to the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council should be internationally agreed beforehand, according to rules and procedures specified in international agreements.

For a high power VHF radio station located centrally next to Poland’s border to the East, the co-ordination area may be up to several hundred kilometres around that station. Thus, it is necessary to conduct international agreements with Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and possibly even with Finland.

2. A reservation of frequencies which were not internationally agreed made by an authorised body should be considered a violation of the Telecommunications Law and international agreements. In extreme cases, this fact may be interpreted as a gross violation of law and lead to invalidity of a decision on the reservation of frequencies in question.

3. Any unilateral assignment of frequencies for a radio station without required international agreements is not recognised by third countries according to international agreements currently in force. This means that Poland could not exercise a fundamental right to protect its own frequencies against interference from foreign services.

4. The violation of agreements with respect to international frequency agreements which are binding for Poland may possibly bring significant consequences for the development of crucial telecommunications market segments (digital radio and television), at least in part of the territory of Poland.

Taking the above conclusions into account, the Author of the study recommends the President of URTiP:

  • not to agree to any violations of law by transferring to the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council frequencies for radio stations with coverage beyond the territory of Poland which were not internationally agreed;
  • to review technical capabilities in particular bands (i.e. long, medium, short wave and very high frequency bands) and make an attempt at relevant international agreements when there is demand for a broadcasting station or when such a station is ordered to be put into use. Only having completed these agreements may the frequencies be subject to a correct administrative decision on their reservation.

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    The President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE) is the national regulatory authority for the market of telecommunications and postal services. The President of UKE is also the specialised authority in the area of equipment conformity assessment, including telecommunications terminal equipment and radio equipment.

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