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28 Nov 2008


EU Priorities 2020


Brussels, 28 November 2008 – The Association of Commercial Television in Europe

(ACT) representing the interests of the commercial broadcasting sector in Europe
welcomes the political agreement reached by the Telecommunications Council
yesterday on the widely discussed Electronic Communications Package. The Package
was presented by the European Commission in 2007 to update the telecommunications
rules from 2002 and is currently being negotiated among the EU institutions. It affects
commercial broadcasters both in terms of access to infrastructure and distribution of

Ross Biggam, Director General of the ACT, commented: “It will be helpful to adopt
the Electronic Communications Package still under this legislature. We are very positive
that similar to the European Parliament the Council has also recognised the important
role of Member States when it comes to spectrum allocation and management”.

Given the heterogeneity of the national media markets, the respect for the principle of
subsidiarity should remain the guiding principle in the field of spectrum. Against this
background the EU should avoid any proscriptive regulation on spectrum issues and
should carefully consider the role and powers of the European Commission. This relates
particularly to those instances where the Commission could aim at centralising
procedures that are dealt with at national level and aim at a wider and more powerful
role than one of encouraging and coordinating measures among Member States.

When it comes to the review of licences for frequencies, commercial broadcasters are
concerned about the current status of the discussions. In line with the current text, a
review of licences should take place after five years. We welcome that a review is no
longer compulsory as originally suggested by the European Commission. However, the
existence of such a review provision can jeopardize the business model of commercial
broadcasters which is based on the need for long-term investments and legal certainty
so as to be able to invest in new high quality services for consumers. In this context we
also question whether there is an appropriate legal basis for the EU competence to
oblige Member States to call into question existing licences awarded and accepted in
good faith.

Finally, commercial broadcasters stress the importance of fair rules between all players
in the broadcasting market. The ACT therefore welcomes the Council’s position, which
creates more clarity and supports equal treatment of both public and private
broadcasters in this field.

About the ACT:

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) is a trade association representing
the interests of the commercial broadcasting sector in Europe. The ACT has twenty eight member
companies active in 34 European countries operating more than 400 free-to-air and pay-tv
channels and distributing several hundred channels and new services. For further information,
please see:

Press contact:

Ross Biggam Utta Tuttlies
Director General Head of Communications
Phone: +32-2-738 76 13 Phone: +32-2-738 76 18
GSM: +32-477-407 733 GSM: +32-495 – 24 64 67
E-mail: E-mail:


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