In deciding on the use of frequencies that are no longer needed for analog broadcasts and in planning new services, a user-centred approach should be taken.
A working group that was appointed by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications has deliberated ways to use frequencies that are no longer required for analog broadcasts and the criteria for making decisions. Attention should be paid to high definition, mobile, pay and pay-per-view channels as well as the growing use of cable, broadband, Internet and satellite systems in distributing TV programmes.
In its statement the Finnish Consumer Agency emphasized three things. First of all introducing new technology should not be viewed as an end in itself. Before decisions are made, it is important to find out whether there is a demand for new technology and what effects it will have on consumers. Households in Finland have recently had to purchase digital receivers. (Analog broadcasts ceased at the end of August 2007.) It is important to make sure that these continue to provide basic services for a sufficiently long time.
Secondly the Consumer Agency pointed to the need for a sufficiently long transition period, during which technical services operate in parallel. Consumers should be able to use the equipment they have purchased for the whole of its normal service life. Decisions regarding new technologies should be made so that they do not result in unnecessary costs.
Thirdly it is important for new technology and equipment to be sufficiently developed before it is introduced. Technological changes should not weaken consumer protection owing to glitches in equipment. Standards alone cannot ensure consumers' right to faultless equipment, as many people discovered when the first digital receivers came on the market. Manufacturers must make sure that equipment is free of defects and works the way it should before placing equipment in shops.