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Norway’s FM Switch-Off Plan Could Soon Encounter Legal Roadblock

Country is an European Economic Agreement member and needs to follow those articles and laws

OSLO�The upcoming �sunset� of FM in Norway may be about to encounter a legal roadblock.

Norway is not member of the European Union, but an EEA member (European Economic Agreement) and needs to follow the articles and laws that EU/EEA requires. �

The Norwegian Local Radio Association has written a letter to the Ministry of Culture to get an answer to this basic question: Is the Norwegian FM switch-off decision legal with respect to our EEA agreement?�

�The reason that we are considering taking the matter before the ESA (EFTA Surveillance Authority)�is that a closure of the FM band and forced transition to DAB technology involves a serious encroachment on members’ freedom of enterprise and the ability to operate local radio.�It would appear that the Ministry of Culture has not considered these issues adequately,� says Svein Larsen, chairman of the Norwegian Local radio Association.�

More specifically, the letter insists the ministry answer the following questions:

  • � � � � �Has the government taken the EEA article 11 (free circulation of goods) into consideration when it’s not possible to use FM receivers or transmitters in Norway?
  • � � � � �Has the government taken the EEA article 31 (freedom of establishment within the EEA) into consideration when it’s not possible to use FM frequencies?

�Norway is the only country in the world that has decided to close the FM network with coercion.�It is particularly unfortunate and, may be unlawful,� said Per Morten Hoff, Secretary General ofICT �Politically it is quite possible to let FM live on, at least for some years. One must postpone FM closure while the case is being tried by the ESA.��