Principles and procedures
The authority provides advice, mediates, processes complaints, conducts supervision surveys and inspections, and obliges, if necessary, players to change their operations so that they are in compliance with the provisions. FICORA's operational principles are cooperation, transparency, reliability and fairness.
Steering and supervision can be regularly recurring or case-specific and it can concern a large group of players or a single player. Measures are initiated by changes in the legislation, markets and technology, discoveries made in stakeholder cooperation, the needs of the parties that are supervised and related conflicts, complaints, and other contacts made by customers.
Different general procedures for steering and supervision are described below:
In the telecommunications and postal sector, the most important measure for promoting competition is negotiation and mediation between telecommunications operators. Economic supervision involves annual reports, too. These procedures are described on the page Promoting competition.
The purpose is to respond to inquiries and questions submitted by customers of telecommunications operators and other players supervised by FICORA primarily by providing guidance. Guidance is provided on websites, as well as by email, letter and phone. The guidance concerns the matters that, according to law, are subject to FICORA's supervision. In other matters, customers are advised to contact the appropriate authority. In addition, FICORA cooperates with other authorities in order to resolve customers' problems and the need for guidance.
FICORA provides guidance to telecommunications operators and other customers pertaining to the scope of its supervision also with regard to the compliance with and application of provisions and good practices. Guidance is provided both orally and in writing in working groups, seminars and other events, as well as in individual inquiries. However, FICORA does not consult businesses about different action and implementation options.
FICORA can also investigate matters under its supervision on its own initiative or at the request of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Regular surveys and reports are also carried out in different supervision sectors.
Annually, telecommunications operators are surveyed by FICORA in writing. The purpose of the surveys is to investigate how the operators implement the requirements laid down in provisions and regulations in their own operations.
In FICORA's technical regulations, telecommunications operators are obliged to produce statistics of some of the factors related to the maintenance of networks and services, such as repair times of faults and disturbances or the utilisation rate of the capacity of a communications network. The authority compiles these statistics from time to time in order to generate an overall situational picture of networks and services. FICORA collects statistical information of disturbances quarterly.
Service providers must annually submit to FICORA a report detailing the extent of their services.
In several network licences granted by the Government, it is required that the licence holder annually submits a report to FICORA. Typically, the report must provide information on the network construction schedule and issues related to the use of the capacity.
In several matters, FICORA also acts as an appellate authority. If the problem cannot be settled by means of guidance or negotiations, FICORA settles the matter in the administrative procedure and issues an appealable decision on the matter. The decision may be required, for example, in a situation where a telecommunications operator or other player has neglected or violated provisions or decisions concerning significant market power or universal service, and the actions are not rectified or if some party needs to have a decision due to inconsistent interests or a difference in interpretation.
FICORA can only settle such matters for which its implementing powers are governed by law. In other matters, FICORA guides the customers to contact and transfer the matters themselves to a competent authority.
Complaints, disputes or other matters are settled by hearing all parties involved, primarily in writing. Oral reports and inspections are also possible. FICORA issues a written, justified decision on whether the investigated operations comply with provisions, and obliges, if necessary, the violator or the defaulter to rectify the situation. To support the decision, a conditional fine or a threat of termination or completion may be imposed.
Appeal directions are attached to the decision. The directions provide information on the court to which the decision can be appealed. FICORA's decisions are appealed, depending on the case, either to the Administrative Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, or the Market Court.
Examples of the cases where FICORA can issue decisions
- pricing of telecommunications operators' wholesale products (cost-oriented price or maximum price)
- pricing of universal postal services
- cost reimbursement to a telecommunications operator for implementing official requirements in a communications network (telecommunications interception and monitoring)
- maintenance and ensuring of the technical operability, information security and interoperability of a telecommunications operator's communications network or communications service
- procedures by which a telecommunications operator implements the user's right to retain his/her telephone number when changing a telecommunications operator and the handling of identification data and messages
- telecommunications operators' compliance with network licence terms, reasonableness of consumer agreement terms, compliance with universal service obligations
- compliance of radio or telecommunications terminal equipment available in the market with requirements (CE markings)
- revocation of right to use an .fi domain
FICORA can carry out inspections and investigate a matter in more detail and often more reliably than by means of a written report. The inspected parties can also have guidance from FICORA and give feedback on the questions related to the application of provisions in practice. The right of access and its requirements are always laid down in law and an inspection is carried out to supervise obligations based on law.
Inspections are agreed on in advance, unless it endangers the purpose of the inspection. The subject to the inspection may also have to submit a preliminary clarification. The inspection can concern equipment, systems, equipment facilities or documents. Inspections cannot be performed in facilities governed by the provisions on domestic peace, with the exception of certain situations that relate to radio interference, radio licences and equipment and that are prescribed punishable.
A record, report or other document is drawn up of the inspection. The inspected party is entitled to check the document in question. On the basis of the inspection report, FICORA can, if necessary, issue decisions on rectification obligations, prohibition decisions or other decisions.
- perform a technical inspection on the operations of a telecommunications operator or a public authority network and equipment facilities
- perform a security inspection on a telecommunications operator (information security)
- perform an economic inspection on a telecommunications operator
- inspect compliance with radio licence terms at a radio station or, for example, in events
- investigate by means of inspections isolated cases of radio interference
- perform inspections concerning market surveillance of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment, i.e. CE markings and information provided by visiting manufacturers, importers and sellers, and take equipment for examination
- perform an inspection concerning an identification service provider and the service provided by it.
In addition, FICORA
- performs or issues orders for an annual inspection concerning a certification authority providing quality certification and the service provided by it
- audits and accredits encryption products for protecting international classified information in Finland (CAA)
- audits and accredits government information systems processing international classified information (SAA)
- accredits some inspection and notified bodies related to information security and radio equipment which can issue accreditations laid down in law.