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The transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and radio channels: the State Duma adopted a draft law in the first reading

11.08.2010
5 min read

Pepeliaev Group advises that on 29 October 2010 the Federal Law “On Amending the Federal Law ‘On Communications’” (hereinafter – the “Law”) comes into force. This Law amends the legal regulation of transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and radio channels.

The purpose of the Law is to ensure the implementation of Russian President’s Decree No. 715 dated 24 June 2009 and the Conception of Development of TV and Radio Broadcasting in the Russian Federation for 2008 – 2015 approved by Order No. 1700-r of the Russian Government dated 29 November 2007. These acts envisage the creation in Russia of a system of mandatory TV and radio channels publicly accessible throughout Russia and a mechanism for ensuring their terrestrial broadcasting all around the country.

Federal Law No. 126-FZ dated 7 July 2003 “On Communications” is amended as follows.

•  The following definitions are added to Article 2 (General definitions used in this Federal Law): “operator of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels”, “TV channel, radio channel”, “transmission of TV channels and/or radio channels”.

An “operator of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels” means a communications operator which, by virtue of a contract concluded with a subscriber, renders communications services for the purposes of TV and/or radio broadcasting and which, according to the Law on Communications, is obliged to transmit publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels, the list of which is determined in accordance with mass media legislation.

A “TV channel or radio channel” means a set of TV and radio telegrams and/or accordingly other audio, visual and sound messages and materials formed in accordance with a TV and radio grid and broadcast under a permanent name and in accordance with an established schedule.
The “transmission of TV channels and/or radio channels” means the reception and delivery to end-user equipment or the reception and over-the-air transmission of a signal by which TV and/or radio channels are distributed.

•  Chapter 4 of the Law on Communications “Connection of electric communications networks and their interaction” is supplemented with: article 19.1 – “The specifics of connection of communications networks of the operators of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels and their interaction with the communications networks for the transmission of TV and/or radio channels”; and article 19.2 - “Terrestrial transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels”.

According to these rules, an operator of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels can receive a signal through which it may publicly distribute accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels in two ways:

  • By receiving the signal transmitted into the air by a communications operator that provides terrestrial transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels, without concluding a contract for connection; and
  • By connecting its communications network to a network of another communications operator.


An operator of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels must, before transmitting such channels, obtain an approval from the broadcaster of these channels. To obtain the approval, the operator has to send an application (for which there is no set form) to the broadcaster of each of the publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels. This application must contain certain provisions specified in the Law on Communications. The broadcaster must review the application within 30 calendar days.

The broadcaster may refuse to approve the location of a signal source or a point of connection to communications networks selected by the operator to transmit TV and/or radio channels only if the transmission of a publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channel (the maintenance of which is assigned for the territory on which the applicant operator intends to transmit this TV and/or radio channel) is not feasible at the connection point or signal source specified in the application.

The terrestrial transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels is performed by communications operators on the basis of contracts for communications services for the purposes of TV and/or radio broadcasting concluded with the broadcaster of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels.

•  Chapter 6 of the Law on Communications is supplemented with new provisions regarding licensing in the area of communications services for the purposes of TV and radio broadcasting.

According to the amendments, the list of licensing conditions specified in licences for activities relating to communications services for TV and/or radio broadcasting on the basis of contracts concluded with subscribers (irrespective of which communications networks are used for these purposes) should include a condition stipulating the transmission of publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels.

In addition, to obtain a licence for communications services for the purposes of terrestrial TV (radio) broadcasting, the applicant must also submit a copy of a licence for TV (radio) broadcasting issued to the broadcaster in the prescribed manner.

•  Article 46 of the Law on Communications (Obligations of communications operators) is supplemented with clause 4. According to this clause, a communications operator which provides communications services for the purposes of TV and/or radio broadcasting on the basis of a contract concluded with a subscriber must, according to the conditions specified in the licence, transmit publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels in the same form in which they are received through the communications networks operated thereby, at its own expense (without concluding contracts with the broadcasters of the publicly accessible mandatory TV and/or radio channels and without charging a fee for the reception and transmission of such channels).

For further information, please contact:

Natalya Ivashchenko, Head of group "Telecommunications", at: (495) 967-0007 or by n.ivashchenko@pgplaw.ru

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