Steering and supervision of postal operations
FICORA monitors compliance with the Postal Act and other provisions and regulations issued under it, as well as the implementation of universal postal services.
Postal services falling within the scope of a so-called universal service must be available to all consumers and companies.
Under the Postal Act (415/2011), universal services include the following postal services:
- items of correspondence weighing no more than 2 kilograms that are paid for in cash;
- postal packages weighing no more than 10 kilograms that are paid for in cash;
- registration and insurance services for the above-mentioned letters and parcels;
- postal items arriving in the country weighing no more than 20 kilograms.
All postal items of consumers and businesses are not covered by the Postal Act, and therefore are not included in the universal services. The Postal Act does not apply to the provision of services concerning:
- newspapers and periodicals;
- unaddressed items (such as unaddressed direct marketing);
- items of correspondence where the operation is on a small scale, of minor importance economically and of such an extent that it is not of material importance for the availability of a universal service;
- courier delivery of items of correspondence;
- postal packages outside the scope of a universal service;
- postal operations required by or related to the operations of an entrepreneur.
The Postal Act and the provisions issued under it define the obligations of universal service providers designated by FICORA. The Postal Act contains provisions on:
- speed of letter deliveries;
- five-day delivery frequency;
- postal deliveries for persons who are over 75 years old;
- pricing; and
- location of service points.
Åland has its own postal legislation. The Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention primarily applies to international postal operations.
The Government Decree on the location of postal service points (113/2012) contains requirements for the population coverage of the service points.
Posti Ltd. annually provides FICORA with information related to the implementation of universal postal services. Information regarding service points is provided twice a year. Based on this information, FICORA monitors how Posti Ltd. meets the requirements laid down in the Postal Act and the provisions issued under it.
FICORA publishes information concerning the implementation of universal postal services annually in Statistics and reports under Development of postal services.
Since the new Postal Act entered into force, FICORA assessed the market for letter and parcel services for the first time in the autumn of 2011 and again for parcel services in spring 2016. FICORA has designated Posti Ltd. as a universal service provider for items of correspondence and for parcel services sent from Finland to other countries. FICORA's decisions on universal postal services are available in Universal service decisions on postal services.
FICORA must assess the market for letter and parcel services at regular intervals. In assessing the market, the supply of services in different parts of the country must be ascertained so that FICORA can assess the need to impose an obligation to provide a universal service.
Based on the market assessment, FICORA decides whether there is a need to specify universal service obligations in order to ensure a universal service. FICORA must, through issuing a decision, impose an obligation on at least one postal undertaking to provide universal services if the market assessment indicates that this is essential for ensuring a universal service.
Under the Postal Act, a universal service provider may be reimbursed from central government funds for the part of the universal service net costs which constitute an unreasonable financial burden for it. Applications for reimbursement are made to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the financial burden must be proven on the basis of a net cost calculation by FICORA.
So far, no need for reimbursement of net costs has been found.
Operators providing postal services that concern items of correspondence must submit a notification to FICORA. A notification on postal operations must be made before commencing operations. Notification
Such postal operations are subject to an annual supervisory fee.
FICORA may issue more detailed regulations:
- on the placing of installations and minor structures required for the reception and delivery of items of correspondence;
- on taking into account in postal delivery the local circumstances or the personal special needs arising from the age of addressees at least 75 years old or the addressee’s disability or state of health;
- on data gathered by means of the cost accounting procedures or on the description of the procedures;
- on the type of data and material that should be included in the report of the universal service provider's auditor.
FICORA's regulations on postal operations and other key decisions and definitions of policy are available in Decisions and definitions of policy concerning postal operations.
A postal undertaking is obliged to collect and disclose to the Ministry of Transport and Communications and FICORA all information on its finances and its operations practised under the Postal Act as is necessary for managing the tasks or for compiling statistics on these tasks.
The information must be supplied:
- without charge;
- without undue delay;
- in the form requested by the public authority.
The obligation to collect and supply information also applies to other undertakings in possession of information that is essential and significant for postal operations and for the official duties referred to in the Postal Act.
FICORA annually publishes statistics and reviews on postal operations and its trends on the basis of the collected information.
Statistics are available in Statistics and reports under Postal services.
Reviews are available in Statistics and reports under Post.
Reviews on postal markets are available in Statistics and reports under Postal delivery services survey.
The Post section on FICORA's website contains general information about postal operations.
FICORA's Monitori service provides information about Posti Ltd.'s services.
Posti Ltd. annually provides FICORA with information related to the monitoring of pricing in universal postal services. Based on the information, FICORA assesses whether the prices are affordable and cost-oriented.
Under the Postal Act, Posti Ltd. must set affordable prices for the postal services falling within the scope of universal services. The prices must be cost-oriented and encourage the efficient provision of universal services.
At the end of 2014, FICORA published a report on the monitoring of pricing and on how Posti Ltd has complied with cost accounting procedures.