Steering and supervision of universal services
In addition, persons with hearing and speech impairment are entitled to a text message service they need and to an internet access required for sign language calls. Everyone is also entitled to a reasonably priced contact information service. These services are universal services. If the availability of some service is insufficient on commercial basis, FICORA designates a universal service provider in the area. FICORA supervises universal service by means of both ex ante regulation and ex post control.
All consumers and businesses are entitled to obtain basic communications services, i.e. the services pertaining to universal service, to their place of residence or to place of business. The following services are universal services:
- fixed or wireless telephone subscription
- internet access of 2 Mbps
- text message service for persons with hearing and speech impairment
- internet service for persons with hearing and speech impairment
- extensive telephone directory service
The services that fall under the scope of universal service must be available at a reasonable price and within a reasonable delivery time everywhere in Finland. If the availability of a telephone service or an internet access service pertaining to universal service is insufficient in some areas on commercial basis, FICORA designates a telecommunications operator for service provision in the area. The telecommunications operator designated as a universal service provider is obligated to provide service to the permanent places of residence and business establishments in the area.
Universal service decisions and the procedures for designating universal service providers are available on the page Universal service decisions.
FICORA regularly monitors the realisation of universal service and supervises that the designated universal service providers comply with the obligations imposed on them. FICORA can take supervisory measures on the basis of a customer complaint or take up the matter for examination on its own initiative. Supervision matters handled by FICORA can concern, for example, the availability of a subscription, the reasonableness of its pricing or the quality.
FICORA monitors the pricing of universal communications services and compares the pricing to the general price level of communications services. However, FICORA can provide an opinion on a subscription price considered to be reasonable only in single cases.
If a universal service provider does not comply with its obligations, FICORA may order the provider to rectify its actions within a reasonable time. If necessary, a conditional fine may be imposed in support of the obligation.
The Decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communications will raise the speed of a universal service broadband subscription to 2 Mbps in the future. The Decree entered into force in October 2015. The higher speed requires that FICORA prepares the new universal service decisions. Regional information on the availability of the service is currently being collected and the new decisions are expected to enter into force in early 2016.