Front Page: Traficom
Front Page: Traficom

The security of establishing and operating an earth station or a radar directed at the stratosphere or space will improve through new legislation as the operations are now subject to a licence. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) serves as the competent licencing and supervisory authority. Its objective is to improve the security of networks and services in the digital society. The act on earth stations and certain radars entered into force on 1 February 2023.

New business models in the space industry attract operators to Finland, as our northern location is opportune for communicating with satellites in polar orbits. Satellite data and its refinement create new business and research opportunities for various operators.

“The objective of the new act is to create a predictable and certain operating environment that takes national security interests into account for operators in the rapidly developing space sector in order to allow for the establishment and operation of receiving earth stations for satellites, for example," says Suvi Juurakko-Lehikoinen, head of the Traficom service area for spectrum management and media. 

Regulated earth station operations referred to in the act include the reception and sending of information and signals from and to various systems in space. Radar operations subject to a licence will include the sending of radio signals and laser pulses to the stratosphere or space and receiving the radar echoes reflected from them.

Regulation to increase operation security and reduce risks

Regulation and the related supervision of operations will also increase the security of the operations. In addition to this, situational awareness of space sector earth stations and radar operations in Finland will be improved. 

The prerequisite for obtaining a licence for earth station and radar operations is that the operations are not in conflict with national security and that certain technical security requirements are met. The operators are in charge of risk management and technical security related to the operation. The licence may be issued for a period of up to ten years at a time. Transmitting earth stations and radars will also continue to need a radio licence issued by Traficom, which will ensure the availability of the radio frequencies used by the devices.

Operators are required to report on their activities and customers to the licencing authority once a year. In addition to this, any significant information security incidents connected to earth station operations must be reported within 24 hours of detection. 

Any earth station and radar operations started before the act entered into force can be continued without a separate licence for the transition period until the end of January 2024. After the transition period, any operators continuing with the activities must have a valid licence. The licence will not, however, be required for the use of conventional satellite services, such as receiving satellite transmissions intended to be generally received, such as satellite TV and radio amateur operations, or the use of satellite terminals exempt from requirement of a radio licence. Short-term programme production connections, for example, have been excluded from the scope of application.

Traficom is preparing instructions for applying for the licence, which will be published on the Traficom website in the coming weeks.

Further information and enquiries

If necessary, operators can contact: 

Licences for earth station and radar operations (in Finnish, the English translation will come later) 

Act on earth stations and certain radars (External link) (96/2023) (in Finnish and Swedish)  

Radio transmitters for satellite systems    

Tero Poutala, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 29 534 6485,

Suvi Juurakko-Lehikoinen, Head of Services, tel. +358 29 539 0446,