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House of Commons
Session 2002 - 03
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Other Bills before Parliament

Communications Bill


Communications Bill



Explanatory notes to the Bill, prepared by the Department of Trade and Industry and

the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are published separately as Bill 6—EN.


Secretary Tessa Jowell has made the following statement under section 19(1)(b) of the

Human Rights Act 1998:

I am unable (but only because of clause 309) to make a statement that, in my view, the

provisions of the Communications Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

However, the Government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed with the Bill.

Bill 653/2


Communications Bill




Part 1

Functions of OFCOM

Transferred and assigned functions

      1        Functions and general powers of OFCOM

      2        Transfer of functions of pre-commencement regulators

General duties in carrying out functions

      3        General duties of OFCOM

      4        Duties for the purpose of fulfilling Community obligations

      5        Directions in respect of networks and spectrum functions

      6        Duties to review regulatory burdens

      7        Duty to carry out impact assessments

      8        Duty to publish and meet promptness standards

      9        Secretary of State’s powers in relation to promptness standards

Media literacy

      10        Function of promoting media literacy

OFCOM’s Content Board

      11        Duty to establish and maintain Content Board

      12        Functions of the Content Board

Functions for the protection of consumers

      13        Consumer research

      14        Duty to publish and take account of research

      15        Consumer consultation

      16        Membership etc. of the Consumer Panel

      17        Committees and other procedure of the Consumer Panel

      18        Power to amend remit of Consumer Panel

Bill 653/2

Communications Bill



International matters

      19        Representation on international and other bodies

      20        Directions for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions

General information functions

      21        Provision of information to the Secretary of State

      22        Community requirement to provide information

      23        Publication of information and advice for consumers etc.

Employment in broadcasting

      24        Training and equality of opportunity


      25        General power to charge for services

Provisions supplemental to transfer of functions

      26        Transfers of property etc. from pre-commencement regulators

      27        Transitional functions and abolition of pre-commencement regulators

Part 2

Networks, services and the radio spectrum

Chapter 1

Electronic communications networks and services


      28        Meaning of electronic communications networks and services

Notification by providers

      29        Advance notification to OFCOM

      30        Designations and requirements for the purposes of s. 29

      31        Notification of contraventions of s. 29

      32        Enforcement notification for contravention of s. 29

      33        Penalties for contravention of s. 29

Administrative charges imposed on providers

      34        Fixing of charges

      35        Supplemental provision about fixing charges

      36        Notification of non-payment of charges

      37        Penalties for non-payment of charges

      38        Suspending service provision for non-payment

      39        Enforcement of directions under s. 38


Communications Bill



Register of providers required to notify or to pay charges

      40        Duty of OFCOM to keep publicly accessible register

Conditions of entitlement to provide network or service etc.

      41        Power of OFCOM to set conditions

      42        Persons to whom conditions may apply

      43        Tests for setting or modifying conditions

      44        Procedure for setting, modifying and revoking conditions

      45        Directions and approvals for the purposes of a s. 41 condition

      46        Delivery of copies of notifications etc.

General conditions: subject matter

      47        Matters to which general conditions may relate

General conditions: customer interests

      48        Conditions relating to customer interests

      49        Approval of codes of practice for the purposes of s. 48

      50        Approval of dispute procedures for the purposes of s. 48

      51        Orders by OFCOM in the absence of conditions under s. 48

General conditions: telephone numbers

      52        The National Telephone Numbering Plan

      53        Conditions to secure access to telephone numbers

      54        Conditions about allocation and adoption of numbers

      55        Telephone numbering conditions binding non-providers

      56        Modification of documents referred to in numbering conditions

      57        Withdrawal of telephone number allocations

      58        Numbering reorganisations

      59        General duty as to telephone numbering functions

General conditions: must-carry obligations

      60        Must-carry obligations

Universal service conditions

      61        Obligations to be secured by universal service conditions

      62        Designation of universal service providers

      63        Subject-matter of universal service conditions

      64        Tariffs etc. for universal services

      65        Directories and directory enquiry facilities

      66        Review of compliance costs

      67        Sharing of burden of universal service obligations

      68        Report on sharing mechanism

Access-related conditions

      69        Permitted subject-matter of access-related conditions

      70        Specific types of access-related conditions

      71        Conditional access systems and access to digital services


Communications Bill



      72        Modification and revocation of conditions imposed under s. 71

Privileged supplier conditions

      73        Imposition of privileged supplier conditions

SMP conditions: procedure

      74        Circumstances required for the setting of SMP conditions

      75        Market power determinations

      76        Proposals for identifying markets and for market power determinations

      77        Delivery of copies of notifications under ss. 75 and 76

      78        European Commission’s powers in respect of proposals

      79        Special rules for transnational markets

      80        Review of services market identifications and determinations

      81        Review of apparatus market identifications and determinations

      82        Cases where review required

SMP services conditions: subject matter

      83        Conditions about network access etc.

      84        Conditions about network access pricing etc.

      85        Conditions about network access in exceptional cases

      86        Conditions about carrier selection and pre-selection

      87        Conditions about regulation of services etc. for end-users

      88        Conditions about leased lines

SMP apparatus conditions: subject matter

      89        Conditions about apparatus supply

Enforcement of conditions

      90        Notification of contravention of condition

      91        Enforcement notification for contravention of conditions

      92        Penalties for contravention of conditions

      93        Amount of penalty under s. 92

      94        Power to deal with urgent cases

      95        Confirmation of directions under s. 94

      96        Suspending service provision for contraventions of conditions

      97        Suspending apparatus supply for contraventions of conditions

      98        Procedure for directions under ss. 96 and 97

      99        Enforcement of directions under ss. 94, 96 and 97

      100        Civil liability for breach of conditions or enforcement notification

OFCOM’s duty to intervene on network access issues

      101        Consideration and determination of network access questions

Electronic communications code

      102        Application of the electronic communications code

      103        Procedure for directions applying code

      104        Register of persons in whose case code applies


Communications Bill



      105        Restrictions and conditions subject to which code applies

      106        Enforcement of restrictions and conditions

      107        Enforcement notification for contravention of code restrictions

      108        Penalties for contravention of code restrictions

      109        Suspension of application of code

      110        Procedure for directions under s. 109

      111        Modification and revocation of application of code

      112        Notification of cessation by person to whom code applies

      113        Transitional schemes on cessation of application of code

      114        Compulsory acquisition of land etc.

      115        Power to give assistance in relation to certain proceedings

Regulation of premium rate services

      116        Conditions regulating premium rate services

      117        Approval of code for premium rate services

      118        Orders by OFCOM in the absence of a code under s. 117

      119        Enforcement of s. 116 conditions

      120        Suspending service provision for contraventions of s. 116 conditions

Offences relating to networks and services

      121        Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services

      122        Possession or supply of apparatus etc. for contravening s. 121

      123        Improper use of public electronic communications network

Persistent misuse of network or service

      124        Notification of misuse of networks and services

      125        Enforcement notifications for stopping persistent misuse

      126        Penalties for persistent misuse

      127        Statement of policy on persistent misuse

Powers to deal with emergencies

      128        Powers to require suspension or restriction of a provider’s entitlement

      129        Enforcement of directions under s. 128

Restrictions in leases and licences

      130        Restrictions in leases and licences

Information provisions

      131        Information required for purposes of Chapter 1 functions

      132        Information required for related purposes

      133        Restriction on imposing information requirements

      134        Notification of contravention of information requirements

      135        Penalties for contravention of information requirement

      136        Suspending service provision for information contraventions

      137        Suspending apparatus supply for information contraventions

      138        Procedure for directions under ss. 136 and 137

      139        Enforcement of directions under ss. 136 and 137

      140        Offences in connection with information requirements


Communications Bill



      141        Statement of policy on information gathering

      142        Provision of information by OFCOM

Abolition of telecommunications licensing etc.

      143        Repeal of provisions of Telecommunications Act 1984

Local authority powers in relation to networks and services

      144        Powers of local authorities in connection with networks

      145        Grants by district councils in Northern Ireland

Interpretation of Chapter 1

      146        Interpretation of Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Spectrum use

General functions relating to spectrum use

      147        General functions of OFCOM in relation to radio spectrum

      148        United Kingdom Plan for Frequency Authorisation

      149        Duties of OFCOM when carrying out spectrum functions

      150        Advisory service in relation to interference

      151        Directions with respect to the radio spectrum

      152        Procedure for directions under s. 151

Reservation of spectrum for multiplex use

      153        Special duty in relation to television multiplexes

Recognised spectrum access

      154        Grant of recognised spectrum access

      155        Effect of grant of recognised spectrum access

      156        Charges in respect of grants of recognised spectrum access

      157        Conversion into and from wireless telegraphy licences

Crown use of the radio spectrum

      158        Payments for use of radio spectrum by the Crown

Limitations and exemptions applied to spectrum use

      159        Limitations on authorised spectrum use

      160        Terms etc. of wireless telegraphy licences

      161        Exemption from need for wireless telegraphy licence

Award and transfer of licences

      162        Bidding for wireless telegraphy licences

      163        Spectrum trading


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Revised 20 November 2002