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Communications Act 2003 (c. 21)

(The document as of February, 2008)

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Communications Act 2003

2003 CHAPTER 21

CONTENTS

Content
  1. Part 1

    Functions of OFCOM

    1. Transferred and assigned functions

      1. 1. Functions and general powers of OFCOM

      2. 2. Transfer of functions of pre-commencement regulators

    2. General duties in carrying out functions

      1. 3. General duties of OFCOM

      2. 4. Duties for the purpose of fulfilling Community obligations

      3. 5. Directions in respect of networks and spectrum functions

      4. 6. Duties to review regulatory burdens

      5. 7. Duty to carry out impact assessments

      6. 8. Duty to publish and meet promptness standards

      7. 9. Secretary of State's powers in relation to promptness standards

    3. Accessible domestic communications apparatus

      1. 10. Duty to encourage availability of easily usable apparatus

    4. Media literacy

      1. 11. Duty to promote media literacy

    5. OFCOM's Content Board

      1. 12. Duty to establish and maintain Content Board

      2. 13. Functions of the Content Board

    6. Functions for the protection of consumers

      1. 14. Consumer research

      2. 15. Duty to publish and take account of research

      3. 16. Consumer consultation

      4. 17. Membership etc. of the Consumer Panel

      5. 18. Committees and other procedure of the Consumer Panel

      6. 19. Power to amend remit of Consumer Panel

    7. Advisory committees

      1. 20. Advisory committees for different parts of the United Kingdom

      2. 21. Advisory committee on elderly and disabled persons

    8. International matters

      1. 22. Representation on international and other bodies

      2. 23. Directions for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions

    9. General information functions

      1. 24. Provision of information to the Secretary of State

      2. 25. Community requirement to provide information

      3. 26. Publication of information and advice for consumers etc.

    10. Employment in broadcasting

      1. 27. Training and equality of opportunity

  2. Part 2

    Networks, services and the radio spectrum

    1. Chapter 1

      Electronic communications networks and services

      1. Preliminary

        1. 32. Meaning of electronic communications networks and services

      2. Notification by providers

        1. 33. Advance notification to OFCOM

        2. 34. Designations and requirements for the purposes of s. 33

        3. 35. Notification of contraventions of s. 33

        4. 36. Enforcement notification for contravention of s. 33

        5. 37. Penalties for contravention of s. 33

      3. Administrative charges imposed on providers

        1. 38. Fixing of charges

        2. 39. Supplemental provision about fixing charges

        3. 40. Notification of non-payment of charges

        4. 41. Penalties for non-payment of charges

        5. 42. Suspending service provision for non-payment

        6. 43. Enforcement of directions under s. 42

      4. Register of providers required to notify or to pay charges

        1. 44. Duty of OFCOM to keep publicly accessible register

      5. Conditions of entitlement to provide network or service etc.

        1. 45. Power of OFCOM to set conditions

        2. 46. Persons to whom conditions may apply

        3. 47. Test for setting or modifying conditions

        4. 48. Procedure for setting, modifying and revoking conditions

        5. 49. Directions and approvals for the purposes of a s. 45 condition

        6. 50. Delivery of copies of notifications etc.

      6. General conditions: subject-matter

        1. 51. Matters to which general conditions may relate

      7. General conditions: customer interests

        1. 52. Conditions relating to customer interests

        2. 53. Approval of codes of practice for the purposes of s. 52

        3. 54. Approval of dispute procedures for the purposes of s. 52

        4. 55. Orders by OFCOM in the absence of conditions under s. 52

      8. General conditions: telephone numbers

        1. 56. The National Telephone Numbering Plan

        2. 57. Conditions to secure access to telephone numbers

        3. 58. Conditions about allocation and adoption of numbers

        4. 59. Telephone numbering conditions conditions">67. Subject-matter of universal service conditions

        5. 68. Tariffs etc. for universal services

        6. 69. Directories and directory enquiry facilities

        7. 70. Review of compliance costs

        8. 71. Sharing of burden of universal service obligations

        9. 72. Report on sharing mechanism

      9. Access-related conditions

        1. 73. Permitted subject-matter of access-related conditions

        2. 74. Specific types of access-related conditions

        3. 75. Conditional access systems and access to digital services

        4. 76. Modification and revocation of conditions imposed under s. 75

      10. Privileged supplier conditions

        1. 77. Imposition of privileged supplier conditions

      11. SMP conditions: procedure

        1. 78. Circumstances required for the setting of SMP conditions

        2. 79. Market power determinations

        3. 80. Proposals for identifying markets and for market power determinations

        4. 81. Delivery of copies of notifications under ss. 79 and 80

        5. 82. European Commission's powers in respect of proposals

        6. 83. Special rules for transnational markets

        7. 84. Review of services market identifications and determinations

        8. 85. Review of apparatus market identifications and determinations

        9. 86. Cases where review required

      12. SMP services conditions: subject-matter

        1. 87. Conditions about network access etc.

        2. 88. Conditions about network access pricing etc.

        3. 89. Conditions about network access in exceptional cases

        4. 90. Conditions about carrier selection and pre-selection

        5. 91. Conditions about regulation of services etc. for end-users

        6. 92. Conditions about leased lines

      13. SMP apparatus conditions: subject-matter

        1. 93. Conditions about apparatus supply

      14. Enforcement of conditions

        1. 94. Notification of contravention of conditions

        2. 95. Enforcement notification for contravention of conditions

        3. . Civil liability for breach of conditions or enforcement notification

      15. OFCOM's duty to intervene on network access issues

        1. 105. Consideration and determination of network access questions

      16. Electronic communications code

        1. 106. Application of the electronic communications code

        2. 107. Procedure for directions applying code

        3. 108. Register of persons in whose case code applies

        4. 109. Restrictions and conditions subject to which code applies

        5. 110. Enforcement of restrictions and conditions

        6. 111. Enforcement notification for contravention of code restrictions

        7. 112. Penalties for contravention of code restrictions

        8. 113. Suspension of application of code

        9. 114. Procedure for directions under s. 113

        10. 115. Modification and revocation of application of code

        11. 116. Notification of cessation by person to whom code applies

        12. 117. Transitional schemes on cessation of application of code

        13. 118. Compulsory acquisition of land etc.

        14. 119. Power to give assistance in relation to certain proceedings

      17. Regulation of premium rate services

        1. 120. Conditions regulating premium rate services

        2. 121. Approval of code for premium rate services

        3. 122. Orders by OFCOM in the absence of a code under s. 121

        4. 123. Enforcement of s. 120 conditions

        5. 124. Suspending service provision for contraventions of s. 120 conditions

      18. Offences relating to networks and services

        1. 125. Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services

        2. 126. Possession or supply of apparatus etc. for contravening s. 125

        3. 127. Improper use of public electronic communications network

      19. Persistent misuse of network or service

        1. 128. Notification of misuse of networks and services

        2. 129. Enforcement notifications for stopping persistent misuse

        3. 130. Penalties for persistent misuse

        4. 131. Statement of policy on persi Notification of contravention of information requirements

        5. 139. Penalties for contravention of information requirements

        6. 140. Suspending service provision for information contraventions

        7. 141. Suspending apparatus supply for information contraventions

        8. 142. Procedure for directions under ss. 140 and 141

        9. 143. Enforcement of directions under ss. 140 and 141

        10. 144. Offences in connection with information requirements

        11. 145. Statement of policy on information gathering

        12. 146. Provision of information by OFCOM

      20. Abolition of telecommunications licensing etc.

        1. 147. Repeal of provisions of Telecommunications Act 1984

      21. Local authority powers in relation to networks and services

        1. 148. Powers of local authorities in connection with networks

      22. Grants for networks and services in Northern Ireland

        1. 149. Grants by Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

        2. 150. Grants by district councils

      23. Interpretation of Chapter 1

        1. 151. Interpretation of Chapter 1

    2. Chapter 2

      Spectrum use

      1. General functions relating to spectrum use

        1. 152. General functions of OFCOM in relation to radio spectrum

        2. 153. United Kingdom Plan for Frequency Authorisation

        3. 154. Duties of OFCOM when carrying out spectrum functions

        4. 155. Advisory service in relation to interference

        5. 156. Directions with respect to the radio spectrum

        6. 157. Procedure for directions under s. 156

      2. Reservation of spectrum for multiplex use

        1. 158. Special duty in relation to television multiplexes

      3. Recognised spectrum access

        1. 159. Grant of recognised spectrum access

        2. 160. Effect of grant of recognised spectrum access

        3. 161. Charges in respect of grants of recognised spectrum access

        4. 162. Conversion into and from wireless telegraphy licences

      4. Crown use of the radio spectrum

        1. 163. Payments for use of radio spectrum by the Crown

      5. Limitations and exemptions applied to spectrum use

        1. 164. Limitations on authorised spectrum use

        2. 165. Terms etc. of wireless telegraphy licences

        3. 166. Exemption from need for wireless telegraphy licence

      6. Award and transfer of licences

        1. 167. Bidding for wireless telegraphy licences

        2. 168. Spectrum trading

      7. Variation and revocation of licences

        1. 169. Variation and revocation of wireless telegraphy licences

      8. Wireless telegraphy register

        1. 170. Wireless telegraphy register

      9. Information requirements

        1. 171. Information requirements in relation to wireless telegraphy licences

      10. Criminal proceedings etc.

        1. 172. Contraventions of conditions for use of wireless telegraphy

        2. 173. Meaning of "repeated contravention" in s. 172

        3. 174. Procedure for prosecutions of wireless telegraphy offences

        4. 175. Special procedure for contraventions by multiplex licence holders

        5. 176. Amount of penalty under s. 175

        6. 177. "Relevant amount of gross revenue" for

    3. Chapter 3

      Disputes and appeals

      1. Disputes

        1. 185. Reference of disputes to OFCOM

        2. 186. Action by OFCOM on dispute reference

        3. 187. Legal proceedings about referred disputes

        4. 188. Procedure for resolving disputes

        5. 189. Disputes involving other member States

        6. 190. Resolution of referred disputes

        7. 191. OFCOM's power to require information in connection with dispute

      2. Appeals

        1. 192. Appeals against decisions by OFCOM, the Secretary of State etc.

        2. 193. Reference of price control matters to the Competition Commission

        3. 194. Composition of Competition Commission for price control references

        4. 195. Decisions of the Tribunal

        5. 196. Appeals from the Tribunal

      3. Interpretation of Chapter 3

        1. 197. Interpretation of Chapter 3

  3. Part 3

    Television and Radio Services

    1. Chapter 1

      The BBC, C4C the Welsh Authority and the Gaelic media service

      1. The BBC

        1. 198. Functions of OFCOM in relation to the BBC

      2. C4C

        1. 199. Functions of C4C

        2. 200. Removal of members of C4C

        3. 201. Deficits and surpluses of C4C

        4. 202. Borrowing limit for C4C

      3. The Welsh Authority

        1. 203. Function of OFCOM in relation to the Welsh Authority

        2. 204. Welsh Authority's function of providing S4C and S4C Digital

        3. 205. Powers to provide other services

        4. 206. Other activities of Welsh Authority

        5. 207. Welsh Authority finances

      4. The Gaelic Media Service

        1. 208. The Gaelic Media Service

        2. 209. Membership of the Service

        3. 210. Supplementary provisions about the Service

    2. Chapter 2

      Regulatory Structure for Independent Television Services

      1. Preliminary

        1. 211. Regulation of independent television services

        2. 212. Abolition of function of assigning television frequencies

        3. 213. Abolition of licensing for local cable systems

      2. Channels 3 and 5

        1. 214. Digital Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences

        2. 215. Replacement of existing Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences

        3. 216. Renewal of Channel 3 and 5 licences

        4. 217. Financial terms of licence renewed under s. 216

      3. The public teletext service

        1. 218. Duty to secure the provision of a public teletext service

        2. 219. Licensing of the public teletext service

        3. 220. Delegation of provision of public teletext service

        4. 221. Replacement of existing public teletext provider's licence

        5. 222. Renewal of public teletext licence

        6. 223. Financial terms of licence renewed under s. 222

      4. Meaning of initial expiry date

        1. 224. Meaning of "initial expiry date"

      5. Reviews relating to licensing of Channels 3 & 5 and teletext

        1. 225. Application for review of financial terms of replacement licences

        2. 226. Application for review of financial terms in consequence of new obligations

        3. 227. Reviews under ss. 225 and 226

        4. 228. Giving effect to reviews under ss. 225 and 226

        5. 229. Report in anticipation of new licensing round

        6. 230. Orders suspending rights of renewal

      6. Replacement of Channel 4 licence

        1. 231. Replacement of Channel 4 licence

      7. Television licensable content services

        1. 232. Meaning of "television licensable content service"

        2. 233. Services that are not television licensable content services

        3. 234. Modification of ss. 232 and 233

        4. 235. Licensing of television licensable content services

        5. 236. Direction to licensee to take remedial action

        6. 237. Penalties for contravention of licence condition or

    3. Chapter 3

      Regulatory Structure for Independent Radio Services

      1. Preliminary

        1. 245. Regulation of independent radio services

        2. 246. Abolition of function of assigning radio frequencies

      2. Radio licensable content services

        1. 247. Meaning of "radio licensable content services"

        2. 248. Services that are not radio licensable content services

        3. 249. Modification of ss. 247 and 248

        4. 250. Licensing of radio licensable content services

        5. 251. Abolition of separate licences for certain sound services

      3. Licence periods etc.

        1. 252. Extension of licence periods

        2. 253. Extension and modification of existing licences

        3. 254. Renewal of local licences

        4. 255. Extension of special application procedure for local licences

      4. Provision of simulcast radio services

        1. 256. Definition of simulcast radio services

        2. 257. Promotion of simulcast radio services

      5. Multiplexes broadcasting sound programmes

        1. 258. Radio multiplex services

        2. 259. Composition of services in radio multiplexes

        3. 260. Digital sound services for inclusion in non-radio multiplexes

        4. 261. Renewal of radio multiplex licences

      6. Community radio

        1. 262. Community radio

    4. Chapter 4

      Regulatory provisions

      1. Application of regulatory regimes

        1. 263. Application of regulatory regimes

      2. The public service remit for television

        1. 264. OFCOM reports on the fulfilment of the public service remit

        2. 265. Public service remits of licensed providers

        3. 266. Statements of programme policy

        4. 267. Changes of programme policy

        5. 268. Statements of service policy by the public teletext provider

        6. 269. Changes of service policy

        7. 270. Enforcement of public service remits

        8. 271. Power to amend public service remits

      3. Must-offer obligations etc. affecting public service television

        1. 272. Must-offer obligations in relation to networks

        2. 273. Must-offer obligations in relation to satellite services

        3. 274. Securing reception of must-provide services in certain areas

        4. 275. Must-provide services for the purposes of s. 274

        5. 276. Co-operation with the public teletext provider

      4. Programming quotas for public service television

        1. 277. Programming quotas for independent productions

        2. 278. Programming quotas for original productions

      5. News provision etc. on public service television

        1. 279. News and current affairs programmes

        2. 280. Appointed news providers for Channel 3

        3. 281. Disqualification from appointment as news provider

        4. 282. Power to repeal or modify Channel 3 news provider provisions

        5. 283. News providers for Channel 5

        6. 284. News provision on the public teletext service

      6. Independent and regional productions and programmes for public service television

        1. 285. Code relating to programme commissioning

        2. 286. Regional programme-making for Channels 3 and 5

        3. 287. Regional programmes on Channel 3

        4. 288. Regional programme-making for Channel 4

        5. 289. Regional matters in the public teletext service

      7. Networking arrangements for Channel 3

        1. 290. Proposals for arrangements

        2. 298. Conditions prohibiting interference with other services

      8. Sporting and other events of national interest

        1. 299. Categorisation of listed events

        2. 300. Effects of categorisation of listed events

        3. 301. Code relating to listed events

        4. 302. Regulations about coverage of listed events

      9. Television services for the deaf and visually impaired

        1. 303. Code relating to provision for the deaf and visually impaired

        2. 304. Procedure for issuing and revising code under s. 303

        3. 305. Meaning of "relevant date" in s. 303

        4. 306. Power to modify targets in s. 303

        5. 307. Observance of code under s. 303

        6. 308. Assistance for the visually impaired with the public teletext service

      10. Programming quotas for digital television programme services

        1. 309. Quotas for independent programmes

      11. Regulation of electronic programme guides

        1. 310. Code of practice for electronic programme guides

        2. 311. Conditions to comply with code under s. 310

      12. Character and coverage of radio services

        1. 312. Character and coverage of sound broadcasting services

        2. 313. Consultation about change of character of local services

        3. 314. Local content and character of local sound broadcasting services

        4. 315. Variations of radio multiplex licences affecting service characteristics

      13. Competition between licensed providers etc.

        1. 316. Conditions relating to competition matters

        2. 317. Exercise of Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose

        3. 318. Review of powers exercised for competition purposes

      14. Programme and fairness standards for television and radio

        1. 319. OFCOM's standards code

        2. 320. Special impartiality requirements

        3. 321. Objectives for advertisements and sponsorship

        4. 322. Supplementary powers relating to advertising

        5. 323. Modification of matters to be taken into account under s. 319

        6. 324. Setting and publication of standard title="Party political broadcasts">333. Party political broadcasts

      15. Monitoring of programmes

        1. 334. Retention and production of recordings

      16. International obligations

        1. 335. Conditions securing compliance with international obligations

      17. Government requirements for licensed services

        1. 336. Government requirements for licensed services

      18. Equal opportunities and training

        1. 337. Promotion of equal opportunities and training

      19. Corresponding rules for the BBC and Welsh Authority

        1. 338. Corresponding rules for the BBC and the Welsh Authority

      20. Enforcement against the Welsh Authority

        1. 339. Review of fulfilment by Welsh Authority of public service remits

        2. 340. Directions to Welsh Authority to take remedial action

        3. 341. Imposition of penalties on the Welsh Authority

        4. 342. Contraventions recorded in Welsh Authority's annual report

        5. 343. Provision of information by Welsh Authority

      21. Enforcement of licence conditions

        1. 344. Transmission of statement of findings

        2. 345. Financial penalties imposable on licence holders

        3. 346. Recovery of fees and penalties

      22. Broadcasting Act licence fees

        1. 347. Statement of charging principles

    5. Chapter 5

      Media ownership and control

      1. Restrictions on licence holders

        1. 348. Modification of disqualification provisions

        2. 349. Licence holding by local authorities

        3. 350. Relaxation of licence-holding restrictions

      2. Changes of control

        1. 351. Changes of control of Channel 3 services

        2. 352. Action following review under s. 351

        3. 353. Changes of control of Channel 5

        4. 354. Action following review under s. 353

        5. 355. Variation of local licence following change of control

        6. 356. Action following review under s. 355

      3. Meaning of control

        1. 357. Meaning of "control"

    6. Chapter 6

      Other provisions about television and radio services

      1. Annual report on television and radio

        1. 358. Annual factual and statistical report

      2. Community radio and local digital television

        1. 359. Grants to providers

      3. Supplemental provisions of Part 3

        1. 360. Amendments of the 1990 and 1996 Acts

        2. 361. Meaning of "available for reception by members of the public"

        3. 362. Interpretation of Part 3

  4. Part 4

    Licensing of TV reception

    1. 363. Licence required for use of TV receiver

    2. 364. TV licences

    3. 365. TV licence fees

    4. 366. Powers to enforce TV licensing

    5. 367. Interpretation of provisions about dealer notification

    6. 368. Meanings of "television receiver" and "use"

  5. Part 5

    Competition in communications markets

    1. Chapter 1

      Functions of OFCOM under competition legislation

      1. 369. Matters in relation to which OFCOM have competition functions

      2. 370. OFCOM's functions under Part 4 of the Enterprise Act 2002

      3. 371. OFCOM's functions under the Competition Act 1998

      4. 372. Application of the Competition Act 1998 to news provision

    2. Chapter 2

      Media mergers

      1. Introductory

        1. 373. Repeal of existing newspaper merger regime

        2. 374. Repeal of exclusion for newspaper mergers from general merger controls

      2. Adaptation for media mergers of main merger regime

        1. 375. Media public interest considerations

        2. 376. Adaptation of role of OFT in initial investigations and reports

        3. 377. Additional investigation and report by OFCOM

      3. Extension of special public interest regime

        1. 378. Extension of special public interest regime for certain media mergers

        2. 379. Adaptation of role of OFT in special public interest regime

        3. 380. Additional investigation and report by OFCOM: special public interest cases

      4. New general functions in relation to media mergers

        1. 381. Public consultation in relation to media mergers

        2. 382. General information duties in relation to media mergers

        3. 383. Advice and information in relation to media mergers

        4. 384. General advisory functions of OFCOM in relation to media mergers

        5. 385. Other general functions of OFCOM in relation to media mergers

        6. 386. Monitoring role for OFT in relation to media mergers

      5. Supplemental provisions of Chapter 2

        1. 387. Enforcement powers in relation to newspaper and other media mergers

        2. 388. Alterations concerning newspaper panel of Competition Commission

        3. 389. Further provision in connection with media mergers

  6. Part 6

    Miscellaneous and Supplemental

    1. Annual report

      1. 390. Annual report on the Secretary of State's functions

    2. Review of media ownership

      1. 391. Review of media ownership

    3. Guidelines as to penalties

      1. 392. Penalties imposed by OFCOM

    4. Disclosure of information

      1. 393. General restrictions on disclosure of information

    5. Notifications etc. and electronic working

      1. 394. Service of notifications and other documents

      2. 395. Notifications and documents in electronic form

      3. 396. Timing and location of things done electronically

    6. Other miscellaneous provisions

      1. 397. Purchase of Duchy of Lancaster land

      2. 398. Repeal of certain provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1984

    7. Supplemental

      1. 399. Expenses

      2. 400. Destination of licence fees and penalties

      3. 401. Power of OFCOM to retain costs of carrying out spectrum functions

      4. 402. Power of Secretary of State to make orders and regulations

      5. 403. Regulations and orders made by OFCOM

      6. 404. Criminal liability of company directors etc.

      7. 405. General interpretation

      8. 406. Minor and consequential amendments, transitionals and repeals

      9. 407. Pre-consolidation amendments

      10. 408. Transitional provision for anticipatory carrying out of functions

      11. 409. Modifications consequential on regulations implementing Directives

      12. 410. Application of enactments to territorial sea and other waters

      13. 411. Short title, commencement and extent

    1. Schedule 1

      Functions transferred to OFCOM

    2. Schedule 2

      Transfer schemes

    3. Schedule 3

      Amendments of Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act 1984

    4. Schedule 4

      Compulsory purchase and entry for exploratory purposes

    5. Schedule 5

      Procedure for grants of recognised spectrum access

    6. Schedule 6

      Fixed penalties for wireless telegraphy offences

    7. Schedule 7

      Seizure and forfeiture of apparatus

    8. Schedule 8

      Decisions not subject to appeal

    9. Schedule 9

      Arrangements about carrying on of C4C's activities

    10. Schedule 10

      Licensing the public teletext service

      1. Part 1

        Applications for and award of licence

      2. Part 2

        Conditions and enforcement of licence

      3. Part 3

        Interpretation of Schedule

    11. Schedule 11

      Approval, imposition and modification of networking arrangements

    12. Schedule 12

      Corresponding obligations of the BBC and Welsh Authority

      1. Part 1

        The BBC

      2. Part 2

        The Welsh Authority

    13. Schedule 13

      Financial penalties under the Broadcasting Acts

      1. Part 1

        Broadcasting Act 1990

      2. Part 2

        Broadcasting Act 1996

    14. Schedule 14

      Media ownership rules

      1. Part 1

        Channel 3 services

      2. Part 2

        Radio multiplex services

      3. Part 3

        Local sound programme services

      4. Part 4

        Religious bodies etc.

      5. Part 5

        Supplemental provisions of Schedule

    15. Schedule 15

      Amendments of Broadcasting Acts

      1. Part 1

        Amendments of the 1990 Act

      2. Part 2

        Amendments of the 1996 Act

    16. Schedule 16

      Further amendments in connection with media mergers

    17. Schedule 17

      Minor and Consequential Amendments

    18. Schedule 18

      Transitional Provisions

    19. Schedule 19

      Repeals

An Act to confer functions on the Office of Communications; to make provision about the regulation of the provision of electronic communications networks and services and of the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum; to make provision about the regulation of broadcasting and of the provision of television and radio services; to make provision about mergers involving newspaper and other media enterprises and, in that connection, to amend the Enterprise Act 2002; and for connected purposes.

[17th July 2003]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--



Part 1 Functions of OFCOM

Transferred and assigned functions

1 Functions and general powers of OFCOM

(1) The Office of Communications ("OFCOM") shall have the following functions--

(a) the functions transferred to OFCOM under section 2; and

(b) such other functions as may be conferred on OFCOM by or under any enactment (including this Act).

(2) OFCOM shall also have any functions in relation to telephone numbers that are conferred on them by the law of the Isle of Man or of any of the Channel Islands.

(3) OFCOM may do anything which appears to them to be incidental or conducive to the carrying out of their functions, including borrow money.

(4) OFCOM are not to borrow money except with the consent of the Secretary of State, or in accordance with a general authorisation given by him.

(5) OFCOM's powers under subsection (3) include, in particular--

(a) power to undertake research and development work in connection with any matter in relation to which they have functions;

(b) power to promote the carrying out of such research and development by others, or otherwise to arrange for it to be carried out by others;

(c) power to institute and carry on criminal proceedings in England and Wales or Northern Ireland for an offence relating to a matter in relation to which they have functions; and

(d) power, in such cases and in such circumstances as they may think fit, to make payments (where no legal liability arises) to persons adversely affected by the carrying out by OFCOM of any of their functions.

(6) In exercise of their powers under subsection (3), OFCOM must establish and maintain separate offices in each of the following parts of the United Kingdom--

(a) England;

(b) Wales;

(c) Scotland; and

(d) Northern Ireland.

(7) Part 2 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (c. 40) (contracting out) is to have effect in relation to the functions conferred on OFCOM by or under any enactment as if--

(a) OFCOM were an office holder within the meaning of that Part; and

(b) a power of OFCOM to make subordinate legislation were excluded from section 69 of that Act to the extent only that it is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(8) In this section "telephone numbers" has the same meaning as in Chapter 1 of Part 2.

2 Transfer of functions of pre-commencement regulators

(1) As from such date as the Secretary of State may appoint for the coming into force of this section, the functions that are set out in Schedule 1 (functions of the Secretary of State and of the pre-commencement regulators) shall become functions of OFCOM in accordance with that Schedule.

(2) References in any enactment to a person who is a person from whom functions are transferred by virtue of this section are to have effect, so far as necessary for the purposes of the transfers, as references to OFCOM.

(3) The functions of OFCOM are to include the carrying out of the transferred functions, at times after the time when they become functions of OFCOM, in relation to anything occurring before that time.

(4) The provisions of this section have effect subject to--

(a) the modifications made by this Act of the enactments relating to the transferred functions; and

(b) any express transitional or consequential provisions made by or under this Act in relation to those enactments.



General duties in carrying out functions

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3 General duties of OFCOM

(1) It shall be the principal duty of OFCOM, in carrying out their functions--

(a) to further the interests of citizens in relation to communications matters; and

(b) to further the interests of consumers in relevant markets, where appropriate by promoting competition.

(2) The things which, by virtue of subsection (1), OFCOM are required to secure in the carrying out of their functions include, in particular, each of the following--

(a) the optimal use for wireless telegraphy of the electro-magnetic spectrum;

(b) the availability throughout the United Kingdom of a wide range of electronic communications services;

(c) the availability throughout the United Kingdom of a wide range of television and radio services which (taken as a whole) are both of high quality and calculated to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests;

(d) the maintenance of a sufficient plurality of providers of different television and radio services;

(e) the application, in the case of all television and radio services, of standards that provide adequate protection to members of the public from the inclusion of offensive and harmful material in such services;

(f) the application, in the case of all television and radio services, of standards that provide adequate protection to members of the public and all other persons from both--

(i) unfair treatment in programmes included in such services; and

(ii) unwarranted infringements of privacy resulting from activities carried on for the purposes of such services.

(3) In performing their duties under subsection (1), OFCOM must have regard, in all cases, to--

(a) the principles under which regulatory activities should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted only at cases in which action is needed; and

(b) any other principles appearing to OFCOM to represent the best regulatory practice.

(4) OFCOM must also have regard, in performing those duties, to such of the following as appear to them to be relevant in the circumstances--

(a) the desirability of promoting the fulfilment of the purposes of public service television broadcasting in the United Kingdom;

(b) the desirability of promoting competition in relevant markets;

(c) the desirability of promoting and facilitating the development and use of effective forms of self-regulation;

(d) the desirability of encouraging investment and innovation in relevant markets;

(e) the desirability of encouraging the availability and use of high speed data transfer services throughout the United Kingdom;

(f) the different needs and interests, so far as the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy is concerned, of all persons who may wish to make use of it;

(g) the need to secure that the application in the case of television and radio services of standards falling within subsection (2)(e) and (f) is in the manner that best guarantees an appropriate level of freedom of expression;

(h) the vulnerability of children and of others whose circumstances appear to OFCOM to put them in need of special protection;

(i) the needs of persons with disabilities, of the elderly and of those on low incomes;

(j) the desirability of preventing crime and disorder;

(k) the opinions of consumers in relevant markets and of members of the public generally;

(l) the different interests of persons in the different parts of the United Kingdom, of the different ethnic communities within the United Kingdom and of persons living in rural and in urban areas;

(m) the extent to which, in the circumstances of the case, the furthering or securing of the matters mentioned in subsections (1) and (2) is reasonably practicable.

(5) In performing their duty under this section of furthering the interests of consumers, OFCOM must have regard, in particular, to the interests of those consumers in respect of choice, price, quality of service and value for money.

(6) Where it appears to OFCOM, in relation to the carrying out of any of the functions mentioned in section 4(1), that any of their general duties conflict with one or more of their duties under sections 4, 24 and 25, priority must be given to their duties under those sections.

(7) Where it appears to OFCOM that any of their general duties conflict with each other in a particular case, they must secure that the conflict is resolved in the manner they think best in the circumstances.

(8) Where OFCOM resolve a conflict in an important case between their duties under paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1), they must publish a statement setting out--

(a) the nature of the conflict;

(b) the manner in which they have decided to resolve it; and

(c) the reasons for their decision to resolve it in that manner.

(9) Where OFCOM are required to publish a statement under subsection (8), they must--

(a) publish it as soon as possible after making their decision but not while they would (apart from a statutory requirement to publish) be subject to an obligation not to publish a matter that needs to be included in the statement; and

(b) so publish it in such manner as they consider appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in OFCOM's opinion, are likely to be affected by the matters to which the decision relates.

(10) Every report under paragraph 12 of the Schedule to the Office of Communications Act 2002 (c. 11) (OFCOM's annual report) for a financial year must contain a summary of the manner in which, in that year, OFCOM resolved conflicts arising in important cases between their general duties.

(11) A case is an important case for the purposes of subsection (8) or (10) only if--

(a) it involved one or more of the matters mentioned in subsection (12); or

(b) it otherwise appears to OFCOM to have been of unusual importance.

(12) Those matters are--

(a) a major change in the activities carried on by OFCOM;

(b) matters likely to have a significant impact on persons carrying on businesses in any of the relevant markets; or

(c) matters likely to have a significant impact on the general public in the United Kingdom or in a part of the United Kingdom.

(13) This section is subject to sections 370(11) and 371(11) of this Act and to section 119A(4) of the Enterprise Act 2002 (c. 40) (which applies to functions conferred on OFCOM by Chapter 2 of Part 5 of this Act).

(14) In this section--

  • "citizens" means all members of the public in the United Kingdom;

  • "communications matters" means the matters in relation to which OFCOM have functions;

  • "general duties", in relation to OFCOM, means--

    (a)

    their duties under subsections (1) to (5); and

    (b)

    the duty which, under section 107(5), is to rank equally for the purposes of subsections (6) and (7) with their duties under this section;

  • "relevant markets" means markets for any of the services, facilities, apparatus or directories in relation to which OFCOM have functions.

4 Duties for the purpose of fulfilling Community obligations

(1) This section applies to the following functions of OFCOM--

(a) their functions under Chapter 1 of Part 2;

(b) their functions under the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum;

(c) their functions under Chapter 3 of Part 2 in relation to disputes referred to them under section 185;

(d) their functions under sections 24 and 25 so far as they relate to information required for purposes connected with matters in relation to which functions specified in this subsection are conferred on OFCOM; and

(e) their functions under section 26 so far as they are carried out for the purpose of making information available to persons mentioned in subsection (2)(a) to (c) of that section.

(2) It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in carrying out any of those functions, to act in accordance with the six Community requirements (which give effect, amongst other things, to the requirements of Article 8 of the Framework Directive and are to be read accordingly).

(3) The first Community requirement is a requirement to promote competition--

(a) in relation to the provision of electronic communications networks and electronic communications services;

(b) in relation to the provision and making available of services and facilities that are provided or made available in association with the provision of electronic communications networks or electronic communications services; and

(c) in relation to the supply of directories capable of being used in connection with the use of electronic communications networks or electronic communications services.

(4) The second Community requirement is a requirement to secure that OFCOM's activities contribute to the development of the European internal market.

(5) The third Community requirement is a requirement to promote the interests of all persons who are citizens of the European Union (within the meaning of Article 17 of the Treaty establishing the European Community).

(6) The fourth Community requirement is a requirement to take account of the desirability of OFCOM's carrying out their functions in a manner which, so far as practicable, does not favour--

(a) one form of electronic communications network, electronic communications service or associated facility; or

(b) one means of providing or making available such a network, service or facility,

over another.

(7) The fifth Community requirement is a requirement to encourage, to such extent as OFCOM consider appropriate for the purpose mentioned in subsection (8), the provision of network access and service interoperability.

(8) That purpose is the purpose of securing--

(a) efficiency and sustainable competition in the markets for electronic communications networks, electronic communications services and associated facilities; and

(b) the maximum benefit for the persons who are customers of communications providers and of persons who make such facilities available.

(9) The sixth Community requirement is a requirement to encourage such compliance with the standards mentioned in subsection (10) as is necessary for--

(a) facilitating service interoperability; and

(b) securing freedom of choice for the customers of communications providers.

(10) Those standards are--

(a) standards or specifications from time to time drawn up and published in accordance with Article 17 of the Framework Directive;

(b) the standards and specifications from time to time adopted by--

(i) the European Committee for Standardisation;

(ii) the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation; or

(iii) the European Telecommunications Standards Institute; and

(c) the international standards and recommendations from time to time adopted by--

(i) the International Telecommunication Union;

(ii) the International Organisation for Standardisation; or

(iii) the International Electrotechnical Committee.

(11) Where it appears to OFCOM that any of the Community requirements conflict with each other, they must secure that the conflict is resolved in the manner they think best in the circumstances.

(12) In this section--

  • "the Framework Directive" means Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services;

  • "network access" and "service interoperability" each has the same meaning as in Chapter 1 of Part 2.

5 Directions in respect of networks and spectrum functions

(1) This section applies to the following functions of OFCOM--

(a) their functions under Part 2; and

(b) their functions under the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum that are not contained in that Part.

(2) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to carry out those functions in accordance with such general or specific directions as may be given to them by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Secretary of State's power to give directions under this section shall be confined to a power to give directions for one or more of the following purposes--

(a) in the interests of national security;

(b) in the interests of relations with the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom;

(c) for the purpose of securing compliance with international obligations of the United Kingdom;

(d) in the interests of the safety of the public or of public health.

(4) The Secretary of State is not entitled by virtue of any provision of this section to direct OFCOM to suspend or restrict--

(a) a person's entitlement to provide an electronic communications network or electronic communications service; or

(b) a person's entitlement to make available associated facilities.

(5) The Secretary of State must publish a direction under this section in such manner as appears to him to be appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in his opinion, are likely to be affected by it.

(6) The Secretary of State is not required by subsection (5) to publish a direction, and he may exclude matter from a direction he does publish, if he considers the publication of the direction or matter to be--

(a) against the interests of national security; or

(b) against the interests of relations with the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

(7) Subsection (4) does not affect the Secretary of State's powers under section 132.

6 Duties to review regulatory burdens

(1) OFCOM must keep the carrying out of their functions under review with a view to securing that regulation by OFCOM does not involve--

(a) the imposition of burdens which are unnecessary; or

(b) the maintenance of burdens which have become unnecessary.

(2) In reviewing their functions under this section it shall be the duty of OFCOM--

(a) to have regard to the extent to which the matters which they are required under section 3 to further or to secure are already furthered or secured, or are likely to be furthered or secured, by effective self-regulation; and

(b) in the light of that, to consider to what extent it would be appropriate to remove or reduce regulatory burdens imposed by OFCOM.

(3) In determining for the purposes of this section whether procedures for self-regulation are effective OFCOM must consider, in particular--

(a) whether those procedures are administered by a person who is sufficiently independent of the persons who may be subjected to the procedures; and

(b) whether adequate arrangements are in force for funding the activities of that person in relation to those procedures.

(4) OFCOM must, from time to time, publish a statement setting out how they propose, during the period for which the statement is made, to secure that regulation by OFCOM does not involve the imposition or maintenance of unnecessary burdens.

(5) The first statement to be published under this section--

(a) must be published as soon as practicable after the commencement of this section; and

(b) shall be a statement for the period of twelve months beginning with the day of its publication.

(6) A subsequent statement--

(a) must be published during the period to which the previous statement related; and

(b) must be a statement for the period of twelve months beginning with the end of the previous period.

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