Regulation of electronic programme guides
306 Code of practice for electronic programme guides
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to draw up, and from time to time to review and
revise, a code giving guidance as to the practices to be followed in the
provision of electronic programme guides.
(2) The practices required by the code must include the giving, in the manner
provided for in the code, of such degree of prominence as OFCOM consider
(a) the listing or promotion, or both the listing and promotion, of the
programmes included in the public service channels; and
(b) the facilities for selecting or accessing those programmes.
(3) The practices required by the code must also include the incorporation of such
features in electronic programme guides as OFCOM consider appropriate for
securing that persons with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing or both —
(a) are able, so far as practicable, to make use of such guides for all the
same purposes as persons without such disabilities; and
(b) are informed about, and are able to make use of, whatever assistance
for disabled people is provided in relation to the programmes listed or
(4) Subject to subsection (5), in subsection (2) the reference to the public service
channels is a reference to any of the following—
(a) any service of television programmes provided by the BBC in digital
form so as to be available for reception by members of the public;
(b) any Channel 3 service in digital form;
(c) Channel 4 in digital form;
(d) Channel 5 in digital form;
(e) S4C Digital;
(f) the digital public teletext service.
(5) The Secretary of State may by order—
(a) add any programme service to the services for the time being specified
in subsection (4) as public service channels; or
(b) delete a service from that subsection.
(6) Before making an order under subsection (5) the Secretary of State must
(7) In this section “electronic programme guide” means a service which consists
(a) the listing or promotion, or both the listing and the promotion, of some
or all of the programmes included in any one or more programme
services the providers of which are or include persons other than the
provider of the guide; and
(b) a facility for obtaining access, in whole or in part, to the programme
service or services listed or promoted in the guide.
307 Conditions to comply with code under s. 306
(1) The regulatory regime for every service consisting in or including an electronic
programme guide includes whatever conditions (if any) OFCOM consider
appropriate for securing that the code maintained by them under section 306 is
observed in the provision of those services.
(2) In this section “electronic programme guide” has the same meaning as in
Character and coverage of radio services
308 Character and coverage of sound broadcasting services
(1) Section 106 of the 1990 Act (requirements as to character and coverage of local
and national radio services) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1), the words from “except” onwards shall be omitted.
(3) After subsection (1) (duty to ensure character preserved subject to departures
that do not restrict service) there shall be inserted—
“(1A) Conditions included in a licence for the purposes of subsection (1) may
provide that OFCOM may consent to a departure from the character of
the licensed service if, and only if, they are satisfied—
(a) that the departure would not substantially alter the character of
(b) that the departure would not narrow the range of programmes
available by way of relevant independent radio services to
persons living in the area or locality for which the service is
licensed to be provided;
(c) that, in the case of a local licence, the departure would be
conducive to the maintenance or promotion of fair and effective
competition in that area or locality; or
(d) that, in the case of a local licence, there is evidence that, amongst
persons living in that area or locality, there is a significant
demand for, or significant support for, the change that would
result from the departure.
(1B) The matters to which OFCOM must have regard in determining for the
purposes of this section the character of a service provided under a
local licence include, in particular, the selection of spoken material and
music in programmes included in the service.”
(4) For subsection (5) (restriction on power to extend licence to new area or
locality) there shall be substituted—
“(5) OFCOM shall only exercise the power conferred on them by subsection
(4) if it appears to them—
(a) that to do so would not result in a significant increase of the area
or locality for which the service in question is licensed to be
(b) that the increase that would result is justifiable in the
exceptional circumstances of the case.”
(5) After subsection (6) of that section there shall be inserted—
“(7) In this section ‘relevant independent radio services’ means the
following services so far as they are services falling to be regulated
under section 243 of the Communications Act 2003—
(a) sound broadcasting services;
(b) radio licensable content services;
(c) additional services;
but, in relation to a departure from the character of a service provided
under a local licence, does not include a service that is provided
otherwise than wholly or mainly for reception by persons living and
working in the area or locality in question.”
309 Consultation about change of character of local services
After section 106 of the 1990 Act there shall be inserted—
“106ZA Consultation about change of character of local services
(1) Before deciding for the purposes of a condition imposed under section
106(1A) whether to consent to a departure from the character of a
service provided under a local licence, OFCOM must publish a notice
(a) the proposed departure; and
(b) the period in which representations may be made to OFCOM
about the proposal.
(2) That period must end not less than 28 days after the date of publication
of the notice.
(3) The notice must be published in such manner as appears to OFCOM to
be appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in
OFCOM’s opinion, are likely to be affected by the departure.
(a) are not required to publish a notice under this section, and
(b) may specify a period of less than 28 days in such a notice as the
period for representations,
if they consider that the publication of the notice, or allowing a longer
period for representations, would result in a delay that would be likely
prejudicially to affect the interests of the licence holder.
(5) OFCOM are not required under this section—
(a) to publish any matter that is confidential in accordance with
subsection (5) or (6); or
(b) to publish anything that it would not be reasonably practicable
to publish without disclosing such a matter.
(6) A matter is confidential under this subsection if—
(a) it relates specifically to the affairs of a particular body; and
(b) its publication would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion, seriously
and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.
(7) A matter is confidential under this subsection if—
(a) it relates specifically to the private affairs of an individual; and
(b) its publication would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion, seriously
and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual.”
310 Local content and character of local sound broadcasting services
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to carry out their functions in relation to local
sound broadcasting services in the manner that they consider is best calculated
(a) that programmes consisting of or including local material are included
in such services but, in the case of each such service, only if and to the
extent (if any) that OFCOM consider appropriate in that case; and
(b) that, where such programmes are included in such a service, what
appears to OFCOM to be a suitable proportion of them consists of
(2) OFCOM must—
(a) draw up guidance as to how they consider the requirements of
subsection (1)(a) and (b) should be satisfied; and
(b) have regard to that guidance in carrying out their functions in relation
to local sound broadcasting services.
(3) The guidance may be different for different descriptions of services.
(4) OFCOM may revise the guidance from time to time.
(5) Before drawing up or revising the guidance, OFCOM must consult—
(a) such persons as appear to them to represent the interests of persons for
whom local sound broadcasting services are or would be provided;
(b) persons holding licences to provide local sound broadcasting services
or persons appearing to represent such persons, or both; and
(c) such other persons as they consider appropriate.
(6) OFCOM must publish the guidance and every revision of it in such manner as
they consider appropriate.
(7) In this section—
“local material”, in relation to a local sound broadcasting service, means
material which is of particular interest—
(a) to persons living or working within the area or locality for
which the service is provided;
(b) to persons living or working within a part of that area or
(c) to particular communities living or working within that area or
locality or a part of it;
“locally-made”, in relation to programmes included in a local sound
broadcasting service, means made wholly or partly at premises in the
area or locality for which that service is provided;
“material” includes news, information and other spoken material and
“programme” does not include an advertisement.
(8) References in this section to persons living or working within an area or
locality include references to persons undergoing education or training in that
area or locality.