Access to TP Emitel's network - UKE

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Access to TP Emitel's network

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2006-11-09

The President of UKE imposed regulatory obligations in the market for broadcasting transmission services (market 18). In its Decision issued on 9 November 2006, the President of the Office of Electronic Communications found that the broadcasting transmission services market to deliver broadcast content to end users was not effectively competitive.

  

TP Emitel Sp. z o.o. with its seat in Krakow was designated as an undertaking with significant market power and required to fulfil regulatory obligations to the extent necessary to provide access to TP Emitel’s own infrastructure.

These obligations include, inter alia:

  • the obligation to provide telecommunications access for other telecommunications undertakings, including the use of infrastructure elements, networks and associated facilities (access to lines and links, transmission systems and telecommunication equipment, as well as other resources enabling the signals to be sent, received or transmitted via cables, radio waves, optical or other means using electromagnetic energy as well as access to masts, poles, towers or other technical devices within TP Emitel Sp. z o.o. premises, for the purpose of installation, assembly and connection of the equipment of an operator wishing to share TP Emitel's Sp. z o.o. infrastructure;
  • the obligation consisting in equal treatment of telecommunications undertakings with regard to telecommunications access, in particular, by way of offering the same conditions under comparable circumstances, as well as offering services and access to information under conditions not worse than those offered within its own company or in relations with subsidiary undertakings (with regard to prices for the use of telecommunications infrastructure, optic fibre lines and radio relay systems that are the property of TP Emitel Sp. z o.o.);
  • the obligation to publish information related to the provision of telecommunications access, including the use of infrastructure elements, networks and associated facilities (the indicated information shall be published on the official TP Emitel’s website);
  • the obligation to manage regulatory accounting in a manner which allows for identification of internal transfer movements in connection with telecommunications access activities in order to avoid excessive pricing or other forms of price discrimination;
  • the obligation to determine telecommunications access charges in order to provide telecommunications access on the basis of operator costs and to present a justification for their level within 2 months of a delivery of the Decision;
  • the obligation to prepare and present an Access Reference Offer facilitating, in particular, a division of telecommunications access for the purpose of broadcasting transmission services from telecommunications access for the purpose of feed services.

The Decision of the President of UKE shall be immediately enforceable.

  

Radio and TV transmission market

In Poland, end users can, of course, receive television and radio transmissions through terrestrial, cable or satellite networks. However, a significant majority of television and radio programmes are broadcast by public broadcasters using terrestrial transmission. These transmissions are the most accessible due to their general availability and the fact that they do not generate significant costs.

Taking into account the technical coverage of terrestrial analogue programmes, the limitations of cable networks and the fees for terrestrial analogue programmes as well as for the satellite platforms, it must be said that only broadcasting of terrestrial television and radio programmes currently facilitates access to programme content most desired by the viewers. In future, its place with respect to radio and television content can be filled by terrestrial digital television thanks to its national coverage and enriched programme offer.

In 2005, the general breakdown in terms of the type of received television was as follows:

  • households receiving television signals through terrestrial networks - over 50%,
  • households receiving television signals through cable or satellite networks - nearly 50% (including nearly 30% cable television viewers).

As part of the analysis carried out by the President of UKE with respect to the market for broadcasting transmission services to deliver broadcast content to end users, questionnaires were sent out to the telecommunications undertakings with regard to their market activities. The following undertakings reached the revenue exceeding 1% of the total market:

  • TP Emitel,
  • RS TV S.A.,
  • Polskie Sieci Nadawcze Sp. z o.o.,
  • INFO Zbigniew Gumuliński Martin Panasiuk S.j.,
  • INFO-TV-FM Sp. z o.o.

Due to its potential (network size, number of transmission stations, etc.), only TP Emitel is able to ensure the provision of the above service, fulfilling the needs of the broadcasters in the broadest sense, and public broadcasters in particular. The President of UKE is of the view that even though there are a number of operators active in the market, using their services is not fully substitutable with the services provided by TP Emitel (substitution to a very limited degree, that is, only in the case of transmitters with low or medium radiated power).

The demand side at the wholesale level is formed by two types of undertakings:

1. The first one is the television and radio broadcasters, interested that the programmes they offer reach end users through the terrestrial transmission networks. Television or radio broadcasters wishing to offer their programmes to as many end users as possible have to use the terrestrial transmission network services. Amongst terrestrial transmission networks only TP Emitel has a comprehensive network capable of providing broadcasters with access to a significant number of end users.

2. The second type are transmission network operators (i.e. potential competitors of TP Emitel) who, in order to provide services to the broadcasters who are competitors of TP Emitel’s services, would need access to the operator’s infrastructure. Their current infrastructure does allow them to operate but within a very limited scope, offering practically no competition to TP Emitel.

  

TP Emitel

TP Emitel forms part of the Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. capital group. It came about as part of the transformation of the Union of Radio and Television Stations (Zjednoczenie Stacji Radiowych i Telewizyjnych). TP Emitel is a subsidiary company in 100% owned by Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. and therefore it is controlled by France Télécom.

TP Emitel has infrastructure that covers 99.1% of Poland’s territory. The infrastructure consists of low and medium power sites as well as high-power stations, able to service broadcasters authorised to distribute their programmes via frequencies with various radiated power, that is:

  • local channels (radiated power up to 1 kW);
  • regional channels (radiated power from 1 kW to 10 kW);
  • inter-regional or national channels (radiated power in excess of 10 kW).

Due to the division of the services provided to broadcasters and the definition of the relevant market for this type of service, TP Emitel has 94 radio transmission sites and 155 television transmission sites owned by the company. It also uses for television and radio programme distribution services 18 radio transmission sites and 51 television transmission sites not owned by it.

TP Emitel’s main clients are: TVP S.A., Polish Radio S.A., Radio ZET Sp. z o.o., Radio Muzyka Fakty Sp. z o.o., Prowincja Zakonu Redemptorystow (Radio MARYJA), TVN Sp. z o.o.

Between 2002 and 2005 TP Emitel achieved the highest revenue from broadcasting  transmission services to deliver broadcast content to end users. Despite a slight decrease in revenue in the period examined, TP Emitel still has a very strong position in the relevant market. Its share in the market at the end of the period under review - 2005 - was slightly in excess of 87%, leaving the other four undertakings active in the market a share of nearly 13%.

  

Barriers to competition

TP Emitel, thanks to its coverage and the number of transmission sites used in the entire territory of Poland, as well as the diversity of the sites able to house transmitters of various power that are used to distribute radio and television programmes, controls the technical infrastructure difficult to duplicate, which means that it has a significant advantage over other market players and additionally strengthens the operator’s position compared to other operators providing broadcasting transmission services to deliver broadcast content to end users.

The ever decreasing resource of available radio frequencies and television channels through which broadcasters distribute their programmes can become a barrier in terms of the further development of telecommunications companies. Hence, saturation of the television and radio market is already so high that there are few new broadcasters. It is true that the regional and inter-regional networks are trying to further increase their coverage but because of the constant number of frequencies and channels agreed on in the international plan, they make it impossible for potential new broadcasters to enter the market. This situation can only change if DVB-T technology is introduced (terrestrial digital distribution) and new digital frequency bands are established, which can accommodate much more channels than the analogue frequency bands.

  

 

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