Invitation to tender for a frequency licence and a licence for electronic communications network based on DTT technology

Published under: Bondevik's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Transport and Communications

Invitation to tender for a frequency licence and a licence for electronic communications network based on DTT technology

1. Introduction

The King (in the Council of State) will award a frequency licence and a broadcasting facilities licence based on DTT technology 1The term DTT technology is an abbreviation of Digital Terrestrial Television, and is often used in reference to a group of radio-technical standards/specifications developed for radio equipment used to establish electronic telecommunications networks with the capacity to produce transmission capacity for image broadcasting content.>. Pursuant to Section 6-2 of the Act of 4 July 2003 No. 83 on electronic communication (the Electronic Communications Act) frequencies in the electronic frequency spectrum cannot be used without a licence from the authority 2The authorities are the King, the Ministry and the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority, cf. Section 1-4 of the Electronic Communications Act. It has been decided that the King will be the authority for award of the frequency licence pursuant to Section 6-2 of the Electronic Communications Act for an electronic communications network based on DTT technology.>. Establishment of network and activities related to such a network is conditional upon a licence in accordance with Section 2-2 of the Act of 4 December 1992 No. 127 on broadcasting (the Broadcasting Act).

The invitation to tender is based on:

  1. Report no. 46 to the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) (1998-1999) Digital television (Norwegian only), cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 53 (1999-2000) (Norwegian only) in which it was resolved to facilitate establishment of a terrestrial network for distribution of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Norway.
  2. Report no. 57 to the Storting (2000-2001), Serving Freedom of Expression (Norwegian only), cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 142 (2001-2002) (Norwegian only), in which the Storting supported the principles for award of a licence for development and operation of a digital terrestrial network for television.
  3. The Minister of Culture and Church Affairs' report on the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) (in Norwegian only) on 28 February 2002.
  4. Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) On digital terrestrial network for television (Norwegian only), cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004) (in Norwegian only) in which the Storting specified criteria for a transition from analogue to digital television signals in the digital terrestrial network for television.

The invitation to tender for the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence was first announced on 28 June 2002. In a letter dated 10 February 2005 the only applicant following the first announcement, Norges televisjon AS (NTV), submitted a request for an extension of the licence period from 12 to 15 years. NTV based its request on significant additional costs and increased risk resulting from the conditions stipulated by the Storting in connection with the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) On digital terrestrial network for television, cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004), compared with the originally announced conditions.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs are of the opinion that an extension of three years is reasonable given the stricter conditions stipulated by the Storting. However, such an extension will also entail a material change of the premise of the original invitation to tender. The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs therefore announced the alteration of the previously issued conditions and at the same time requested that any interested parties contact the authorities to allow the authorities to make a prudent assessment of whether there was a basis for a new invitation to tender for the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence Telenor Broadcast Holding AS gave notice that it would be interested in applying within the deadline. The Ministry of Transport and Communications found that Telenor's interest complied with the stipulated criteria for reporting interest. Thus, the invitation to tender for the award of the frequency licence for electronic communications network based on DTT technology and a licence pursuant to Section 2-2 of the Broadcasting Act for establishment of a digital terrestrial network is therefore announced once again.

The invitation to tender is available in Norwegian and English. In the event of any inconsistency in content, the Norwegian text shall prevail.

2. Conditions for development and operation

A frequency licence will be awarded that provides usage rights to the 470-790 MHz frequency band with the exception of frequency use described under Sections 6.1.1 – 6.1.4 for a period of 15 years. The frequencies shall be used for establishment of an electronic communications network based on DTT technology for the distribution of electronic communications services (e.g. transmission services for broadcasting, telecommunications services, etc.).

The usage rights will also have to be defined in relation to the multilateral and bilateral coordination agreements negotiated by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority with other affected countries. Frequency resources originally intended for analogue television in accordance with the Stockholm Plan of 1961 will be used for the electronic communications network based on DTT technology. The 1997 Chester Agreement sets forth criteria for reallocation of analogue frequencies for digital use. Based on the procedures adopted in Chester, there was a Scandinavian re-planning in July 1998. ITU is organising a conference in order to establish an agreement and associated frequency plan for implementation of digital technology in the 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz frequency bands. The conference will also establish coordination procedures for the transition from analogue to digital technology. The first (technical) part of the conference was held in June 2004. Preparations are currently underway for the second part of the conference, which will take place in the summer of 2006. The outcome of this conference may affect users of these frequency bands in Norway, including the frequency resources for which tenders are invited. Information regarding the regional planning work is available under Section 6.4 below.

During the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) On digital terrestrial network for television, cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004), the Storting majority stated that ”they see the necessity of continued focus on terrestrial-based broadcasting in Norway and that this is conditional upon a technology changeover in the terrestrial network from analogue to digital distribution in the near future”. The Storting also largely supported the criteria identified by the Government in the Report to be met in order for the authorities to be able to approve the broadcasters’ discontinuation of analogue broadcasts.

Several transmitter licenses used for analogue technology have been awarded within the 470 -790 MHz frequency band. The establishment of a digital electronic communications network based on DTT technology must be based on frequencies in the same band. The technology changeover will to a large extent depend on facilitating use of frequencies in the 470-790 MHz band with digital technology as the use of analogue technology in the band is phased out. Usage rights for the frequencies to be awarded are designed to provide the developer with as much flexibility as possible to handle the transition from analogue to digital technology in the 470-790 MHz band.

The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs may consent to discontinuation of analogue broadcasts when the conditions for discontinuing analogue broadcasting stipulated by the Storting in connection with consideration of Report no 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) have been met (cf. Sections 7.4-7.6), including the condition that the entire population shall have access to digital broadcasts. This invitation to tender and subsequent award do not grant the licence holder any formal rights in relation to the authorities' decision to allow the broadcasters to discontinue their analogue broadcasts.

3. Legal conditions pertaining to the Broadcasting Act

The following subsections address how the authorities plan to put in to practice the Broadcasting Act’s ”must-carry” provisions and other issues pursuant to the Broadcasting Act. The ”must-carry” rules will be defined in the regulations and will not formally be a part of the licence awarded based on this invitation to tender.

3.1 Use of frequencies

The licence holder shall not use the electronic communications network to transmit broadcasts from broadcasters under Norwegian jurisdiction other than those that have the right (NRK) or licence pursuant to Section 2-1, first subsection of the Broadcasting Act to engage in digital broadcasting transmitted via wireless, terrestrial-based transmitter facilities.

3.2 ”Must-carry” obligations

”Must-carry” provisions will be specified for the digital terrestrial network for television. The ”must-carry” provisions shall safeguard the need for varied content, also in the Norwegian language. ”Must-carry” requirements will be stipulated in regulations in pursuance of Section 4-3 of the Broadcasting Act. The ”must-carry” requirements are conditional, inter alia, on the broadcasters in question fulfilling clearly defined general interest objectives in compliance with EEA law and that the stipulated obligations are proportionate.

During the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) the Storting decided that NRK and TV2 AS shall be secured transmission capacity in the nationwide part of the network and in the satellite shadows. NRK and TV2 shall be secured transmission capacity equivalent to that required to distribute NRK 1, NRK 2, NRK's regional television broadcasts as well as TV2's main channel with a quality at least corresponding to the quality of these channels in the analogue terrestrial network at the start of the licence period. The “must-carry” obligations for these broadcasters will be linked to their role as public service broadcasters. Should NRK establish new public service broadcasting channels, these channels may also be subject to a ”must-carry” requirement.

The Storting also decided that local television stations with a licence pursuant to Section 7-3, third subsection of the Regulations of 28 February 1997 on broadcasting must be granted satisfactory framework conditions in the terrestrial network. Furthermore, the Storting decided cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004) that a small part of the capacity must be made available on reasonable terms for a non-commercial broadcaster or a so-called “open channel”. The “must-carry” obligations may comprise one or more non-commercial interests (non-profit organisations, denominational organisations, etc.) operating within the same channel with a bandwidth limited upwards to 2 Mbit/s. For local television stations and non-commercial broadcasters, the”must-carry” obligation will be conditional upon them fulfilling clearly defined general interest objectives.

The Storting stated during the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) that it ”regards it important that a digital terrestrial network makes room for other commercial Norwegian broadcasters than TV2” and assumed ”that the Ministry takes this into account when it establishes the terms and conditions for the licence”. If it becomes clear that applicants fulfil clearly defined general interest objectives or the requirements stipulated to be regarded as a public service broadcaster in connection with the invitation to tender for digital licences pursuant to Section 2-1 of the Broadcasting Act, the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs will consider whether to include other broadcasters as well under the ”must-carry” requirement, cf. Section 4-3 of the Broadcasting Act, cf. page 12 of the Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004).

The specific scope of the ”must-carry” obligations will be resolved after licences pursuant to Section 2-1 of the Broadcasting Act have been made public and awarded as well as revised provisions specified regarding the scope of the ”must- carry” obligations in the Broadcasting Regulations have been issued. Broadcasters covered by the ”must-carry” obligations shall have priority for lease of frequency capacity from the licence holder for the terrestrial network. Such leases shall be based on ordinary terms and conditions.

3.3 User influence

In the event that demand for capacity is greater than supply, the licence authorities may require the licence holder to establish a system for user participation in order to ensure viewer influence on the services provided, cf. corresponding provisions in Section 4-4 of the Broadcasting Act.,

4. Rights

4.1 Frequency licence

The invitation to tender covers frequency resources in the 470-790 MHz band, and the licensee will be granted the right to install an electronic communications network based on DTT technology using frequencies in the 470-790 MHz band as described below under Section 6.

4.2 Duration

The frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence will be valid for a period of 15 years from the date of the award.

4.3 Right of way

Providers can apply for an expropriation licence pursuant to the rules set forth in Section 12-3, first subsection of the Electronic Communications Act or pursuant to the rules set forth in the Act of 23 October 1959 No. 3 on the expropriation of real property.

5. Minimum requirements related to development, coverage and emergency preparedness

5.1 Roll-out requirements and coverage

A minimum of one signal package must be rolled out to at least 95 per cent estimated population coverage including residential areas located in the satellite shadow. Residences located in such satellite shadows must have access to a service that at least consists of one signal package.

Signal Package 2 must be rolled out in parallel with Signal Package 1 and with a corresponding estimated coverage, with the exception of satellite shadow areas.

The estimated coverage requirement must be related to the percentage of Norway's population that can receive a signal of sufficient field strength at their permanent residence with a directional outdoor antenna up to 10 metres above the ground. Everyone living in areas with sufficient field strength given a location probability of 95 % will be regarded as having coverage. Technical parameters used as a basis for the calculation of coverage: See complete text at the NPT website.

Calculation of coverage will be based on statistics for 2004 using Statistics Norway as the source for population data. The population data is divided into grids of 100 x 100 metres. The data indicates the number of people residing within each square.

Compliance with the coverage requirement will be determined based on theoretical estimated coverage. The coverage calculation must be based on agreed and generally accepted principles and methods.

5.2 Satellite shadow

The licensee must ensure that persons permanently residing in satellite shadow areas have access to a television service that at least includes those television channels that at the time of the announcement are defined as nationwide public broadcasters, i.e. NRK1, NRK2 and TV2. If persons permanently residing in satellite shadow areas have access to television signals via an outdoor antenna located at a height of 10 metres above the ground, this will be regarded as access to a television service in accordance with the above criteria. The licensee must determine which technology platform and/or solution to use to make this possible.

Residences fulfilling all criteria below will be regarded as being located in the satellite shadow:

  1. The residence in question cannot receive a sufficiently stable and strong television signal corresponding to the capacity in a signal package even when an outdoor receiver antenna is installed with 15 dBd amplification up to 10 m above the ground as well as a low-noise antenna amplifier.
  2. The residence in question cannot by just paying a connection fee and/or a general subscription fee be connected to a cable network or some other relevant distribution technology.
  3. The residence in question cannot receive signals from a satellite where NRK1, NRK2 and TV2 are available because there is no clear line of sight from the parabolic antenna to the satellite even when the antenna is placed in an optimum location on the building and minimum 5 metres above the ground and it is also impossible to locate a free-standing parabolic antenna on the property in question up to 5 metres above the ground and up to 100 metres away from the wall of the residence to ensure line of sight to the satellite and the line of sight and reception is obstructed by mountains or other permanent ground conditions (topographic conditions). If the line of sight is obstructed only by vegetation, buildings or other local conditions, the residence in question is not in a satellite shadow.

If there are reports of satellite shadow areas existing after the introduction of DTT in a region, the licensee must, as soon as practically feasible, determine whether the residence in question is actually located in the satellite shadow. If there is a satellite shadow, the licensee must without undue delay provide the opportunity to receive television signals corresponding to the service provided in one signal package.

The duty to cover satellite shadow areas applies to residences with permanent residents based on information from the National Population Register on 31 December 2004.

5.3 Emergency preparedness

The licence holder must design the digital terrestrial network in a manner that ensures emergency preparedness considerations are safeguarded in a manner at least corresponding to the current analogue terrestrial-based television network. This includes the following:

  1. It must be possible to feed programs directly from regional centres in the individual regions should the National Program Feed Central (Nasjonal programmatingssentral - NPS) be incapacitated.
  2. A simplified backup solution must be established for the NPS as well as procedures and regular drills for such a transition. The backup solution must be physically separate from the NPS.
  3. Program feeds to the regional centres must be handled in such a manner that incapacitation of a single regional centre will not incapacitate other regions in the network.
  4. Transmitters that cover 5000 persons or more must be duplicated.
  5. The network must be synchronised independently of satellites, provided that tested technology is available at an acceptable price.
  6. A minimum stock of spare parts must be available in Norway.
  7. The operations must be secured at a level that at least corresponds to the current level in relation to power outage, fire, sabotage or other serious events.
  8. The licence holder can be required to establish NPS in EMP (electromagnetic pulse)-protected premises in connection with a major revision of the national emergency response plan.

The above-mentioned conditions are linked to emergency preparedness measures to secure distribution of at least one nationwide signal package.

6. Frequency usage rights

6.1 Usage rights in the 470-790 MHz frequency band

The usage rights grant the licensee the right to use the 470-790 MHz frequency band with the limitations that follow from Sections 6.1– 6.2.

The frequency use must be in accordance with the technical specifications in Recommendation ITU-R BT.1306 and ITU-R BT.1368.

The licensee will be responsible for ensuring that the use of the frequencies does not significantly reduce the quality of, interfere with or repeatedly interrupt lawfully operated radio services.

6.1.1 Transmitters planned for analogue distribution of local broadcasting

Within the 470-790 MHz frequency band there are plans for transmitters for local broadcasting. For a list of transmitters planned for local broadcasting: See complete text at the NPT website.

Existing transmitter licenses for analogue distribution of local broadcasting expire on 31 January 2006. The authority under the Electronic Communications Act will award new frequency licences for analogue distribution of local broadcasting effective from 1 February 2006. At the time when new transmitter licenses awarded local broadcasters expire as a result of discontinuation of analogue distribution of local broadcasting, the licensee may start using these frequencies.

6.1.2 Transmitters allocated for analogue distribution of image broadcasting

Several transmitter licenses have been awarded to Norkring AS within the 470-790 MHz frequency band that will expire on 1 November 2006. The transmitter licenses are used for analogue transmission of television broadcasts from NRK and TV2 as a nationwide commercial public broadcaster.

From 2 November 2006 and until the analogue distribution of TV2's television broadcasts is discontinued, some of these transmitter licenses will be awarded to TV2. For a list of TV2 transmitters: See complete text at the NPT website.

From 2 November 2006 and until the analogue distribution of NRK1's and NRK2's television broadcasts are discontinued, some of these transmitter licenses will be awarded to NRK. For a list of NRK transmitters: See complete text at the NPT website.

The licence holder can start using the frequencies at the time the authorities decide that analogue signals may be discontinued 3Final end date for analogue transmitting licences will be specified at a later time, cf. the Storting majority's emphasis of the importance of ”a technology changeover in the terrestrial network from analogue to digital distribution in the near future”, cf. Committee Recommendation to the Storting No. 128 (2003-2004) and the European Commission's proposal that the deadline for discontinuing analogue signals in Europe be set at 2012 (cf. COM(2005) 204 final)., cf. the conditions for discontinuing analogue transmission of the public broadcasting channels NRK1, NRK2 and TV2 stipulated by the Storting during the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003).

6.1.3 Transmitter licenses awarded for redistribution of broadcasting signals in satellite shadows

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority has awarded some transmitter licenses for redistribution of broadcasting signals in satellite shadows within the 470-790 MHz band. These transmitter licenses will expire either on 31 December 2006 or on 1 January 2010. For a list of transmitters allocated for redistribution of broadcasting signals in satellite shadows: See complete text at the NPT website.

After the existing transmitter licenses for redistribution of broadcasting signals in satellite shadows have expired, the licensee take may start to make use of the frequencies. A precondition for the licensee being able to make use of the frequencies is that he himself has ensured that persons permanently residing in satellite shadow areas have the opportunity to receive a television service that at least contains the television channels defined as nationwide public service broadcasters at the time of the announcement, i.e. NRK1, NRK2 and TV2, cf. Section 5.2.

6.1.4 Transmitters allocated for DTT IP

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority has awarded eight transmitter licenses for DTT IP within the 470-790 MHz band that will expire on 31 December 2008. Norkring AS is the holder of these transmitter licenses. For a list of transmitters allocated for DTT IP: See complete text at the NPT website.

After the existing transmitter licenses for DTT IP have expired, the licensee may start using the frequencies.

6.2 Interference

It cannot be ruled out that legitimate frequency use may result in interference. This applies especially to situations in which different types of radio transmitting devices are in the same location.

If interference occurs between various frequency users that use the frequencies in accordance with the terms and conditions of the frequency licences, the rule of first in time will apply unless otherwise specified in the frequency licences, see Sections 6.1 - 6.2, or the parties agrees otherwise, see Section 6.2.3.

6.2.1 Interference in relation to neighbouring licences

The boundaries between the licence to use the 470-790 MHz frequency band and other frequency blocks are designed to ensure limited probability that use in accordance with the terms and conditions will result in harmful interference to other frequency users.

6.2.1.1 Interference in relation to the 453-457.5 / 463-467.5 MHz frequency bands

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has awarded a licence to use the 453-457.5 / 463-467.5 MHz frequency bands to Nordisk Mobiltelefon AS that will expire on 31 December 2019. Usage rights to the 453-457.5 / 463-467.5 MHz frequency bands have higher priority than the usage rights that will be awarded to the licensee. This means that if there is interference between the licensee and the holder of the licence to use the 453-457.5 / 463-467.5 MHz frequency bands, the licensee must yield. The licensee must accept interference from the holder of the licence to use the 453-457.5 / 463-467.5 MHz frequency bands.

6.2.1.2 Interference in relation to PMR in the 450-470 MHz band

There is some probability that interference will occur between existing transmitter licenses for PMR in the frequency band below 470 MHz if the licensee uses the channels 21 and 22 (450-470 MHz).

The licensee must not interfere with use in accordance with licences for PMR awarded before 31 December 2005. The licence holder must accept interference from such users.

Transmitter licenses for PMR may also be awarded after 31 December 2005, but such licences will require that users of PMR licences do not interfere with the licensee. Parties awarded transmitter licenses for PMR after 31 December 2005 must accept interference from the licensee.

At the time of the invitation to tender transmitter licenses have been awarded for approximately 900 base stations and approximately 12,000 mobile terminals for PMR in the 450-470 MHz band. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority will prepare a list showing the status as of 31 December 2005 that will be submitted to the licensee. Upon request, the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority can submit a preliminary overview updated as of June 2005.

6.2.2 Interference in relation to existing transmitter licences in the 470-790 MHz band

The boundaries between the licensee's use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band and existing transmitter licenses in the band are designed to ensure that use in accordance with the terms and conditions do not result in harmful interference vis-à-vis other frequency users. The licensee must not interfere with use of transmitter licenses as described in Sections 6.1.1 – 6.1.4. The licensee must accept interference from transmitter licenses as described in Sections 6.1.1 – 6.1.4.

6.2.3 Agreements to resolve interference

The licensee may enter into agreements to resolve interference with holders of various affected transmitter licenses.

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority may allow the licensee to make use of frequencies in such a manner that it interferes with existing transmitter licenses if:

  1. The licensee has offered to cover the costs of appropriate measures to handle interference vis-à-vis the holder of existing transmitter licenses, and
  2. The holder of existing transmitter licenses has refused to accept the offer.

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority will determine what shall be regarded as appropriate measures.

6.3 Reporting duty

In order to allow the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority to supervise the development requirements and coverage obligations, the licensee will be required to submit overviews of established and planned transmitters with associated coverage calculations, etc. to the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority. The licensee will be required to submit such annual reports until the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority can ascertain and confirm that the development requirements and coverage obligations have been met. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority will stipulate additional reporting duties should special circumstances relating to the licensee's development of the electronic communications network warrant this.

6.4 International coordination and amendment of the frequency licence as a result of international agreements and cooperation

The licensee cannot make use of frequencies in such a manner that according to the ITU Radio Regulations it requires coordination with neighbouring countries before the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority has implemented such coordination and the licensee has received positive feedback from the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority.

International coordination is either based on multilateral or bilateral agreements between neighbouring countries that are obliged to carry out such coordination by underwriting the ITU Radio Regulations. Regional planning work is taking place during the period 2004-2006 in which ITU's Region 1 intends to sign a multilateral coordination agreement that will also affect the 470-790 MHz frequency band. Information on the regional planning work: See complete text at the NPT website.

Please also note that the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority may amend the terms and conditions regarding frequency use and technological parameters, also to the detriment of the licensee, if the amendment is a necessary consequence of Norway's obligations under international law, e.g. coordination agreements, or collaboration on international harmonisation.

6.5 Spectrum fees

No spectrum fees will apply during the duration of the licence.

6.6 Administrative charges payable to the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority

Annual administrative charges will be payable pursuant to Section 12-1 of the Electronic Communications Act, cf. Regulations of 21 February 2005 No. 168 on administrative charges payable to the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority.

The prognosis for the 2006 charge period is NOK 2.5 million.

It must be assumed that this administrative charge will increase for subsequent charge periods. An increase will be particularly probable as the existing analogue transmitter licenses expire and the licensee can make use of frequencies that currently are awarded as transmitter licenses for analogue transmission.

6.7 Amendments to terms and conditions

The authority under the Electronic Communications Act may, within the framework of Section 6-2 of the Electronic Communications Act or if necessary due to changed international obligations, amended national legislation, or if deemed necessary due to other weighty social considerations, amend the terms and conditions in the frequency licence. Such amendments may be detrimental to the licensee.

7. Terms of reference / selection criteria

7.1 General

The application must contain the information necessary to evaluate the application. Applicants must provide an account of how the minimum requirements and other obligations assumed by the applicant will be met. Emphasis will be on obligations explicitly expressed by applicants in their applications. The authorities may choose to not take into consideration information and plans regarded as insufficiently clear, specific or documented.

If applicants in their applications have not made specific reservations, the applicants, by submitting their applications, will accept the minimum requirements described in Sections 4 and 5 above. The authorities reserve the right to refuse applicants that do not accept these minimum requirements. During the evaluation of the applications, the authorities will place particular emphasis on obligations assumed by applicants based on the terms of reference, cf. Sections 7.2 - 7-7 below.

After expiry of the deadline for submitting applications, applicants cannot provide supplementary information or submit new tenders or corrected tenders to the authorities. After expiry of the deadline for submitting applications, applicants can only answer questions that the authorities request answers to, if relevant. Any questions that the authorities would like answered after expiry of the deadline for submitting applications, will be in writing and must be answered in writing and otherwise as specified by the authorities.

If the application is based upon certain assumptions or reservations, this must be explicitly stated in the application. Assumptions or reservations cannot be presented after expiry of the deadline for submitting applications. No reservations will be accepted regarding how other applications are presented.

The frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence will be awarded based on the rights and obligations specified in the invitation to tender. Offers presented by applicants in their applications may also become incorporated into the terms and conditions of the frequency licence or the broadcasting facilities licence. Terms and conditions may also be stipulated within the framework of the general rules. Terms and conditions that may be linked to frequency licences are given in Section 6-3 of the Electronic Communications Act. 4Ref. also Article 6 of Directive 2002/20/EC, cf. Annex B of the Directive.>

The listed order of the selection criteria below does not entail a ranking of the weight of the various selection criteria during the selection process.

7.2 Applicant competence and financial issues

When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the applicants' qualifications for, and competence to, implement their plans, including the financial realism of the plans.

The applicants must describe their own, and any partners', competence as well as experience regarded as relevant for the application. Applicants are requested to describe all relevant aspects of the financing of the project, including conditions for this financing. The applications must include a detailed plan for financing the installation and operation of the activities for the entire period (15 years).

7.3 Competition

When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will emphasise the overall impact on competition in relevant markets. Applicants are requested to provide an account of competition issues that may be of significance for the assessment of their application and how they will facilitate competition including competition between broadcasters (e.g. through terms for access to the network). Applicants are also requested to indicate how competition between various pay TV platforms may be promoted.

7.4 Technical description of the planned network

When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the quality of the radio engineering solutions that the applicants intend to use for establishing an electronic communications network based on DTT technology. Applicants are requested to describe the planned network with reference to relevant specifications/standards. A brief account must also be provided of the features of the planned network of significance for emergency preparedness.

The authorities encourage the applicants to make use of open standards and specifications. Please note that the rules in Chapter 4 of the Regulations of 16 February 2004 No. 401 on electronic communications network and electronic communications services (the Electronic Communications Regulations) specify certain requirements relating to access control services, transmission of wide-screen television services and to certain types of user equipment.

The authorities emphasise that if applicants in their application bind themselves to a specific transmission format, a specific coding standard and/or compression standard, etc. (typically software applications), this will be incorporated among the terms and conditions of the frequency licence, and thus apply for the entire period the licence is awarded for (15 years). If applicants would like flexibility to allow for implementation of the most suitable applications at any given time during the entire period, the applicants should then consider whether they will address this part of their technical solution in a manner that will not be regarded as an offer submitted to the authorities. Applicants should therefore keep in mind that they prepare the tenders in such a way that technical specifications allow for the necessary flexibility during the entire period.

Applicants must indicate whether they plan options for mobile reception. If applicants intend to allow for this option, please provide an account of the radio engineering solution for mobile reception.

The authorities refer to the criteria stipulated by the Storting for discontinuing terrestrial-based analogue image broadcasts in connection with the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) on digital terrestrial network for television. The authorities will therefore place emphasis on the applicants' handling of emergency preparedness considerations. One of the criteria for discontinuing analogue broadcasts stipulated by the Storting is:

  1. Emergency preparedness considerations must be safeguarded in a satisfactory manner

Applicants are requested to present a plan for complying with the emergency preparedness requirements as described in Section 5.3. If any applicant intends to offer measures and plans of significance for emergency preparedness in excess of the requirements referred to, the applicant must indicate any obligations assumed by the applicant.

7.5 Coverage and rate of development

When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the obligations assumed by the applicants as regards the network's estimated coverage beyond the minimum requirement and development rate presented by the applicants in the form of a development plan and work schedule.

Applicants are requested to state the final population coverage, or phases in the roll-out if relevant, and the date when the final estimated coverage will be realised, in relation to:

(1) The specified minimum requirements and

(2) The coverage and roll-out plan presented by the applicant that may exceed the minimum requirements.

Applicants are requested to indicate the assumptions used as a basis for the calculation, illustrate coverage on maps of a suitable scale and present total coverage on 1:2,000,000 scale maps. To the extent possible, coverage must be confirmed with the assumed location of the individual transmission points.

The authorities refer to the criteria stipulated by the Storting for discontinuing terrestrial-based analogue broadcasts in connection with the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) on digital terrestrial network for television. The authorities will therefore place emphasis on the applicants' plans for the radio engineering transition from analogue to digital technology, including the schedule submitted by the applicants. One of the criteria for discontinuing analogue broadcasts stipulated by the Storting is:

  1. The entire population shall have access to digital television signals

Applicants are requested to provide an account of their plans for implementation of the radio engineering transition from analogue to digital technology, and the schedule for this process. If applicants plan a region-by-region transition from analogue to digital technology, please specify which regional division will be used as the basis and the schedule for this process.

Applicants are requested to inform whether they will provide accessibility, as well as cover the needs of disabled persons and groups with special needs. When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the obligations assumed by the applicants as regards accommodating disabled persons and groups with special needs.

7.6 Digital added value

The authorities refer to the criteria stipulated by the Storting for discontinuing terrestrial-based analogue transmission of broadcasting content in connection with the consideration of Report no. 44 to the Storting (2002-2003) On digital terrestrial network for television. When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the applicants' plans for how they will promote the transition from analogue to digital technology for terrestrial-based transmission of broadcasting content and the offers presented that may facilitate migration from analogue to digital technology for terrestrial-based transmission of broadcasting content.

One of the criteria for discontinuing analogue broadcasts stipulated by the Storting is:

  1. The transition to digital television must represent an added value for the viewers - NRK's broadcasts must be available free of charge

When selecting the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence, the authorities will place emphasis on the manner in which the applicants' plans can contribute to ensure the entire population access to a wide range of varied digital television programming.

Applicants are requested to submit a plan that outlines which electronic communications services they intend to offer in addition to ordinary broadcasting services.

Two of the criteria for discontinuing analogue broadcasts stipulated by the Storting are:

  1. The cost of purchasing receivers shall be limited

and

  1. The audience shall have genuine access to receivers and technical assistance

Applicants are requested to state to what extent they will facilitate support to end users/consumers during the transition from analogue to digital technology and to what extent they will contribute to ensure that end users / consumers can acquire receivers at the lowest possible cost to the end user / consumer.

If applicants intend to offer this, the applicants are requested to indicate any obligations assumed by the applicants. Applicants are requested to outline their intentions regarding how they will handle and support broadcasters during the transition from analogue to digital technology. This information should include information on the applicants' plans for customer support in connection with this transition. Applicants are requested to indicate any costs incurred by end users / consumers in connection with use of customer support functions. Finally, the applicants are requested to outline their intentions to ensure end user/ consumer access to receivers of a limited initial cost.

Another of the criteria for discontinuing analogue broadcasts stipulated by the Storting is:

  1. The needs of the local television sector must be safeguarded and an “open channel” must be facilitated

Applicants are requested to provide an account of their plans regarding a possible regionalisation of all or parts of the electronic communications network so as to facilitate sale of transmission capacity for local television content. Finally, applicants are requested to provide an account of their plans regarding technical solutions and sale of transmission capacity to a non-commercial broadcaster, ref. Section 3.2.

7.7 Other matters

Applicants must provide an account of how environmental considerations will be safeguarded in connection with the development. It is assumed that the holder of the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence will determine the placement of masts/sites and antennas, etc. with landowners and others that may be affected.

8. Application and award process

8.1 Deadline and submission of applications

Applications must be received by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs no later than on 30 September 2005 at 14:00 hours. Applications received after this time will be returned to the sender unopened. In the event of special circumstances, however, it may be decided that applications received after the deadline will be considered. The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs will determine what constitutes special circumstances.

The application must be marked ”DTT Application”, and the name and address of the sender must be visible on the envelope/package. The application must be sent or delivered to the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Akersgata 59, Oslo, Postal address: P.O. Box. 8010 Dep. N-0030 Oslo, Norway) and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs (Akersgata 59, Oslo, Postal address: P.O. Box. 8030 Dep. N-0030 Oslo, Norway). Written confirmation of receipt will be issued to confirm that the application has been received. Three complete copies of the application must be submitted. One copy of the application must be signed and will be regarded as the original. The application and summary must also be submitted in an electronic format.

All costs incurred in connection with the preparation and submission of applications must be covered by the applicants regardless of the outcome of the award process.

8.2 Formal requirements

The applications must contain the applicants' name, address, name of contact, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address to be used when contacting the applicants.

If any applicant consists of companies applying jointly, this information must be provided for all participants. In such cases, the name of a joint contact must be supplied.

If an applicant is an existing company, audited profit and loss accounts and balance sheets for the previous three years must be enclosed. The same applies to parent companies, or other companies that the applicant has based its financial qualifications on.

If an applicant during the period that its application is under consideration, merges its company with another party or enters into cooperation of significance for the planned activities, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs must be notified of this immediately. Any changes to other circumstances of significance for the application must also be reported immediately.

8.3 Publication of applications

As a point of departure, the name of applicants and applications will be made available to the public. The applicants must therefore address and justify in the application whether there is a need to exempt all or parts of the application from public disclosure, including other parties' right of access to the application. Applicants should also state to what extent this should also apply after the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence have been awarded. This statement must in both instances be accompanied by a justification based on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Public Administration Act. The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs will determine whether to make all or parts of the application public.

The application summary must be worded to ensure that it can be made public in its entirety.

8.4 Transfers, liquidations, rejections etc.

Transfer of the frequency licence must be approved by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in advance. Should the licensee go into compulsory liquidation over the course of the licensing period, the frequency licence may be recalled and the authority under the Electronic Communications Act may reallocate the frequency resources.

Applicants not awarded the frequency licence and the broadcasting facilities licence will be notified in writing.

If no applications are received that to a sufficient degree satisfy the requirements set forth in the invitation to tender and related to the Electronic Communications Act with associated regulations, the Ministry of Transport and Communications reserves the right to not award the frequency licence and issue a new invitation to tender for licence(s) to use the frequencies.

8.5 Sanctions

Applicants who provide incorrect information or are in breach of any rules set forth in the invitation to tender or fail to comply with any requests to provide information, etc., may forfeit their right to have their application considered.

8.6 Questions regarding the invitation to tender

All inquiries regarding the invitation to tender should be addressed to the authorities via electronic mail, to dtt@sd.dep.no and dtt@kkd.dep.no. Inquiries must be marked ”DTT inquiry”. Inquiries may be submitted starting from 8 August 2005 and up to 16 September 2005 at 16:00 hours (two weeks before the deadline).

Questions and answers will be published on the Odin site on the Internet. The identity of the party asking the question will be kept confidential.

The party asking the question must determine whether there is a need for excluding all or parts of the question from public disclosure, including disclosure to the other parties, and must state the reasons for such determination. It will be determined whether all or parts of the question will be subject to public disclosure.

Applicants will be regarded as having been informed of all questions and answers published on the Internet.