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Handling of interference/disturbances and monitoring

In the following, Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom) provides information about interference / disturbance and monitoring.

Interference/disturbances

Nkom formulates frequency licences with the objective of uncoordinated use of frequencies, within the framework of each individual frequency licence, being able to be carried out. When formulating spectrum licences, Nkom uses this starting point when we define permitted signal strength at the licence's (spectral) boundary. A transmitter licence is a right to use a radio frequency to transmit from a geographically defined transmission point in accordance with specified technical transmission parameters. When Nkom grants transmitter licences, Nkom is responsible for the detail planning.

Nkom plans using higher margins with the intention of avoiding interference/disturbances between transmitters, than what a private planner that mainly carries the risk of disturbing itself, would be able to base its plans on. However, it cannot be ruled out that disturbances will occur. The use of frequencies in accordance with laws, regulations and conditions stipulated in frequency licences can therefore result in disturbances. This applies in particular when different types of radio equipment are located at the same point, for example on the same tower.

If interference/disturbances occur that involve a frequency licence issued by Nkom, it will be relevant to answer the following questions:

  • Do the affected frequency users have frequency licences?
  • If the affected frequency users have frequency licences, is their frequency use within the framework of these licences? 
  • Have the affected frequency users granted Nkom access to relevant information about the frequency use? Or could additional information contribute to finding a solution to the situation in question? Nkom can issue decisions to demand information.

Nkom will use the following starting points:

  • Can the matters be resolved locally by the affected frequency users finding a solution? 
  • Can Nkom, including Nkom's Section for Frequency Monitoring, assist with affected frequency users and Nkom jointly finding a solution?

If interference/disturbances cannot be resolved as mentioned above, Nkom will, as a starting point, apply the following principles:

  • If disturbances occur between different frequency users who use frequencies in accordance with the terms and conditions in the licences, Nkom will, in a decision relating to such interference, assess the case as a whole, however may apply the first-in-time principle. This applies if the frequency licence does not entitle the holder to protection from others.

When handling matters concerning interference/disturbances it may be relevant to use the tools Nkom is given to perform its supervisory duties relating to the management of the frequency spectrum.

Supervision

The Authority monitors compliance with requirements stipulated in or in pursuance of the Act, cf. Section 10-1 of the Electronic Communications Act. In principle, the authority that monitors the individual elements follows from the allocation of functions between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Norwegian Communications Authority.

In practice, Nkom monitors the frequency licences that Nkom has issued. In addition, Nkom monitors compliance with the individual conditions in the frequency licences issued by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. These licences state what Nkom shall monitor in this context. 

When monitoring compliance, Nkom sometimes discovers illegal frequency use and other unlawful activities. There could be different responses to unlawful activities:

  • Nkom may, within the framework of Section 10-6 of the Electronic Communications Act, order corrective action or the cessation of unlawful activities.
  • Nkom may also, within the framework of Section 10-7 of the Electronic Communications Act, impose on-going coercive fines for each day that passes until the unlawful activity has ceased or the order for corrective action or change has been complied with.
  • Pursuant to Section 10-13 of the Electronic Communications Act, Nkom may also impose administrative fines on natural persons and enterprises that are in deliberate or negligent breach of the Electronic Communications Act, regulations issued in accordance with the Electronic Communications Act or individual decisions issued in pursuance of the Act. 
  • Violation of the Electronic Communications Act is also a criminal offence. Deliberate or negligent breach of the Electronic Communications Act, regulations issued pursuant to the Electronic Communications Act or individual decision issued in pursuant of the Act, is punishable by fines or imprisonment for up to six months, cf. Section 12-4 of the Electronic Communications Act.