Why is the TRA stopping illegal FM operators without prior notice?
Unlicensed operators are aware that they are operating illegally and should expect to be stopped at any moment by the Public Authorities. On the other hand, the TRA already issued two circulars (3/2009 and 4/2009) published in the Official Gazette and on its website with the following information:
1- Circular 3/2009
: stating that all broadcast stations should abide by the licenses terms and conditions approved by virtue of Decree 7997 dated 29/2/1996
2- Circular 4/2009
: stating that all licensed service providers using any frequency should send their complaints to the TRA in case of any interference on their respective radio networks and urging illegal service providers to stop using the spectrum illegally
More generally, the application of the Law 431 provisions does not require any prior notice.
Which regions are being targeted and why?
Many regions in Lebanon include a high number of illegal transmitters and operators. The TRA based on claims received from consumers, legal operators, the Ministry of Telecommunications, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Police scans each concerned region in order to identify and locate and stop illegal transmitters. Illegal transmitters cause interference on the licensed frequencies, which lead to a drop in the quality of service, service interruption and EMF exposure.
Why not provide 1 frequency per FM station to avoid crowding the spectrum?
The FM is already a very crowded band. The TRA is working on a final FM frequency plan taking into consideration that these frequencies have to be registered at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and allocated to Lebanon by the ITU. The TRA will also define and register through the ITU the FM frequencies that can be used in Lebanon without causing interference to and from neighboring countries.
Information Law details the National Master Plan for FM frequencies. The TRA launched the “Improving FM Broadcasting”
paper for public consultations. The TRA will issue a final FM Frequency Plan based on the recommendations included in the paper sent for public consultations where it will plan to assign either 1, 2 or 3 frequencies per FM station
Why not plan to provide local or regional FM licenses?
This will require an amendment to the Information Law 382/94. This Information Law 382/94 provided for a frequency plan with National allocation rather than Regional allocation. The TRA has to abide by the current Information Law 382/94.
What about Digital transmission?
The “Improving FM Broadcasting” paper launched for public consultations and submitted for further discussions during the workshop
held on the 9th
of January 2009. The TRA did not get any feedback from concerned stakeholders. The TRA is currently studying the shift to digital transmission and is ready to gather and discuss stakeholders’ opinions.
What other entities are helping stop this fraud?
As the TRA is in charge of scanning the regions to define illegal transmitters, many other Public Entities are involved in the process as well, such as the Cyber Crime and the Intellectual Property Rights office in the Juridical police under the Ministry of Interior, the National Media Council and the Ministry of Information.