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House of Lords
Session 2009 - 10
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Digital Economy Bill [HL]


Digital Economy Bill [HL]

33

 

25      

Initial expiry date for Channel 3 and 5 and public teletext licences

(1)   

Section 224 of the Communications Act 2003 (initial expiry date for licences) is

amended as follows.

(2)   

For subsection (1) (meaning of “initial expiry date”) substitute—

“(1)   

Subject to any postponement under this section, for the purposes of this

5

Part the initial expiry date for the following types of licence is 31

December 2014—

(a)   

a licence to provide a Channel 3 service;

(b)   

a licence to provide Channel 5;

(c)   

the licence to provide the public teletext service.”

10

(3)   

In subsection (2) (power to postpone initial expiry date), at the end insert “for

one or more of the types of licence mentioned in subsection (1)”.

(4)   

Omit subsection (3) (no postponement if digital switchover is to occur before 1

July 2013).

26      

Initial expiry date: consequential provision

15

(1)   

Chapter 2 of Part 3 of the Communications Act 2003 (regulatory structure for

independent television services) is amended as follows.

(2)   

In each of sections 214(6) and 216(12) (definition of “licensing period” for

Channels 3 and 5)—

(a)   

in the opening words, after “licensing period” insert “, in relation to a

20

licence,”,

(b)   

in paragraph (a), at the end (but before “or”) insert “for that type of

licence”, and

(c)   

in paragraph (b), at the end insert “for that type of licence”.

(3)   

In each of sections 219(3) and 222(12) (definition of “licensing period” for

25

public teletext service)—

(a)   

in paragraph (a), at the end (but before “or”) insert “for the licence to

provide the public teletext service”, and

(b)   

in paragraph (b), at the end insert “for that type of licence”.

(4)   

In section 225(3) (period for review of financial terms of replacement Channel

30

3 and 5 and public teletext licences), after “initial expiry date” insert “for that

type of licence”.

(5)   

In section 228(8) (giving effect to review of financial terms of replacement

licence), in the definition of “licensing period”—

(a)   

after ““licensing period”” insert “, in relation to a licence,”,

35

(b)   

in paragraph (a), at the end (but before “or”) insert “for that type of

licence”, and

(c)   

in paragraph (b), at the end insert “for that type of licence”.

(6)   

Section 229 (report in anticipation of new licensing round) is amended as

follows.

40

(7)   

In subsection (1), after “licensing period” insert “for a type of relevant licence”.

(8)   

In subsection (2)—

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

34

 

(a)   

for “holders of relevant licences” substitute “holder or holders of that

type of licence”, and

(b)   

for “licence holders” substitute “licence holder or holders”.

(9)   

In subsection (3)(a) and (b), for “relevant licences” substitute “that type of

licence”.

5

(10)   

After subsection (4) insert—

“(4A)   

Subsection (5) applies where the Secretary of State—

(a)   

receives a report under this section in anticipation of the end of

a licensing period for a type of relevant licence, and

(b)   

subsequently makes an order under section 224 extending the

10

licensing period for that type of licence.”

(11)   

In subsection (5)—

(a)   

for the words from the beginning to “the order—” substitute “Where

this subsection applies—”, and

(b)   

in paragraph (a), for “he” substitute “the Secretary of State” and at the

15

end (but before “and”) insert “for that type of licence”.

(12)   

In subsection (6), in the definition of “licensing period”—

(a)   

in the opening words, after ““licensing period”” insert “, in relation to a

licence,”,

(b)   

in paragraph (a), at the end (but before “or”) insert “for that type of

20

licence”, and

(c)   

in paragraph (b), at the end insert “for that type of licence”.

(13)   

Section 230 (orders suspending rights of renewal) is amended as follows.

(14)   

In subsection (2), for “licences for the time being in force that are of a

description specified in the order are” substitute “a licence for the time being

25

in force that is of a description specified in the order is”.

(15)   

In that subsection, at the end insert “(but see subsection (7))”.

(16)   

In each of subsections (3), (4), (5) and (8)(b), for “licences” substitute “a licence”.

(17)   

In subsection (7), for “Channel 3 licences” substitute “a Channel 3 licence”.

(18)   

In subsection (11), in the definition of “initial licensing period”—

30

(a)   

after ““initial licensing period”” insert “, in relation to a licence,”, and

(b)   

at the end (but before “and”) insert “for that type of licence”.

27      

Report by OFCOM on public teletext service

After section 218 of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

“218A   

 Duty to report on public teletext service

35

(1)   

OFCOM must—

(a)   

prepare a report on the public teletext service, and

(b)   

send it to the Secretary of State as soon as practicable after this

section comes into force.

(2)   

OFCOM must prepare and send to the Secretary of State further reports

40

on the public teletext service when asked to do so by the Secretary of

State.

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

35

 

(3)   

Each report must include, in particular—

(a)   

an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages for

members of the public of the public teletext service being

provided, and

(b)   

an assessment of whether the public teletext service can be

5

provided at a cost to the licence holder that is commercially

sustainable.

(4)   

An assessment under subsection (3)(a) must take account of alternative

uses for the capacity that would be available if the public teletext

service were not provided.

10

(5)   

OFCOM must publish every report under this section—

(a)   

as soon as practicable after they send it to the Secretary of State,

and

(b)   

in such manner as they consider appropriate.

(6)   

“Capacity” means capacity on the frequencies on which Channel 3

15

services, Channel 4, S4C and television multiplex services are

broadcast.”

28      

Power to remove OFCOM’s duty to secure provision of public teletext service

(1)   

Section 218 of the Communications Act 2003 (provision of public teletext

service) is amended as follows.

20

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

(a)   

for “must do all that they can to” substitute “may”, and

(b)   

at the end insert “and complies with this section”.

(3)   

In subsection (7)—

(a)   

for “OFCOM must exercise their powers” substitute “If there is a public

25

teletext provider, OFCOM must take account of the requirements of the

public teletext service when exercising their powers”, and

(b)   

omit the words after paragraph (b).

(4)   

Accordingly, in the heading of the section, for “Duty” substitute “Power”.

(5)   

Omit section 221 of that Act (replacement of existing public teletext provider’s

30

licence).

(6)   

In section 276(1) of that Act (co-operation with the public teletext provider), for

“the provider of the service or channel” substitute “, if there is a public teletext

provider, the provider of the Channel 3 service or Channel 4”.

(7)   

In section 362 of that Act (interpretation of Part 3), in the definition of “the

35

public teletext service”, for “is required to be” substitute “is or may be”.

(8)   

The amendments made by this section and the entries in Schedule 3 relating to

sections 218(7) and 221 of the Communications Act 2003 (and section 47 so far

as relating to those entries) come into force on such day as the Secretary of State

may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.

40

(9)   

An order may not be made under subsection (8) unless—

(a)   

condition A or B is met,

(b)   

the Secretary of State is satisfied that making the order is in the public

interest, and

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

36

 

(c)   

a draft of the instrument containing the order has been laid before, and

approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(10)   

Condition A is that the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament a report by

the Office of Communications (“OFCOM”) under section 218A of the

Communications Act 2003 (report on public teletext service).

5

(11)   

Condition B is that OFCOM have invited applications for the licence to provide

the public teletext service (within the meaning of Part 3 of the Communications

Act 2003) and—

(a)   

no applications were made by the closing date, or

(b)   

OFCOM considered that they could not award the licence to any of the

10

applicants.

29      

Appointed providers of regional or local news

After section 287 of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

“287A   

Appointed providers of regional or local news

(1)   

OFCOM may—

15

(a)   

appoint a person to provide relevant media content consisting

of regional news or local news (or both) for all or part of a

designated Channel 3 area, and

(b)   

pay amounts to the appointed person for use in, or in

connection with, the provision of such content.

20

(2)   

OFCOM must do all that they can to secure that a person does not

become or remain a person appointed under this section if the person

is a disqualified person under paragraph 1 of Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the

1990 Act in relation to a Broadcasting Act licence.

(3)   

Where a person has been appointed under this section to provide news

25

for all or part of a designated Channel 3 area, the regulatory regime for

the regional Channel 3 service provided for that area includes the

conditions (if any) that OFCOM consider appropriate for securing that

the service includes news programmes provided by that person.

(4)   

OFCOM must publish the criteria that they intend to use in making an

30

appointment under this section.

(5)   

The appointment—

(a)   

must specify the period for which the person is appointed,

(b)   

must specify the area for which the person is appointed (the

“appointed area”),

35

(c)   

may specify the parts of the appointed area, or the communities,

for which the appointed person is to provide local news,

(d)   

may make provision for the variation of the appointment,

including the appointed area,

(e)   

must be made subject to such conditions relating to the form,

40

character and quality of the relevant media content as OFCOM

consider appropriate,

(f)   

must be made subject to such conditions as OFCOM consider

appropriate for securing the standards objectives in section

319(2)(c) and (d) (impartiality and accuracy in programmes

45

included in television and radio services),

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

37

 

(g)   

may be made subject to such other conditions as OFCOM

consider appropriate, and

(h)   

may be revoked by OFCOM at any time.

(6)   

The conditions may include, in particular, conditions requiring the

appointed person to make the relevant media content available to—

5

(a)   

the provider of the regional Channel 3 service for the appointed

area,

(b)   

the body corporate appointed under section 280 as the

appointed news provider for Channel 3, and

(c)   

any other person.

10

(7)   

The conditions may also include, in particular—

(a)   

conditions requiring the appointed person to broadcast or

distribute the relevant media content, whether by means

involving the use of an electronic communications network or

otherwise, and

15

(b)   

conditions requiring the appointed person to support and

promote the provision by other persons of regional news or

local news (or both) for the appointed area, whether in the form

of relevant media content or otherwise.

(8)   

An amount paid under this section may be paid on such conditions as

20

OFCOM consider appropriate, including—

(a)   

conditions as to the use of the amount, and

(b)   

conditions as to the circumstances in which all or part of the

amount must be repaid.

(9)   

Before inviting applications for an appointment under this section to

25

provide news for all or part of a designated Channel 3 area, OFCOM

must—

(a)   

give notice to the provider of the regional Channel 3 service for

the area, and

(b)   

have regard to any representations made by the provider of that

30

service during the period specified in the notice.

(10)   

The period must end not less than 28 days after the date on which

OFCOM give the notice.

(11)   

Section 287(5) and (6) apply to a condition imposed under subsection

(3) as they apply to a condition imposed under that section.

35

(12)   

OFCOM must consult the Secretary of State—

(a)   

before publishing criteria in accordance with subsection (4), and

(b)   

before determining conditions to be imposed under subsection

(5) or (8).

(13)   

In this section—

40

“designated Channel 3 area” means an area—

(a)   

for which a regional Channel 3 service is provided, and

(b)   

which has been designated for the purposes of this

section by OFCOM with the consent of the Secretary of

State;

45

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

38

 

“local news”, for an appointed area, means news that is intended

to be of particular interest to persons living within a part of the

area or to a particular community living within the area;

“regional news”, for an appointed area, means news that is

intended to be of particular interest to persons living within the

5

area;

“relevant media content” means material, other than

advertisements, which is included, or is capable of being

included, in any of the following services that are available to

members of the public in all or part of the United Kingdom—

10

(a)   

television programme services, additional television

services or digital additional television services,

(b)   

on-demand programme services, or

(c)   

other services provided by means of the internet where

there is a person who exercises editorial control over the

15

material included in the service.

(14)   

The services that are to be taken for the purposes of this section to be

available to members of the public include any service which—

(a)   

is available for reception by members of the public (within the

meaning of section 361); or

20

(b)   

is available for use by members of the public (within the

meaning of section 368R(4)).”

30      

Broadcasting of programmes in Gaelic

(1)   

Omit section 184 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (broadcasting of programmes in

Gaelic on Channel 3 in Scotland).

25

(2)   

Accordingly, omit section 183A(7)(a) and (b) of that Act (representation in

Gaelic Media Service of interests of holders of certain licences).

Independent radio services

31      

Digital switchover

(1)   

In section 86(6) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (varying licences under Part 3), for

30

“section 110(1)(b)” substitute “section 97B or 110(1)(b)”.

(2)   

After section 97 of that Act insert—

“Digital switchover

97A     

Date for digital switchover

(1)   

The Secretary of State may give notice to OFCOM nominating a date for

35

digital switchover for the post-commencement services specified or

described in the notice.

(2)   

When nominating a date, or considering whether to nominate a date,

the Secretary of State must have regard to any report submitted by

OFCOM or the BBC under section 67(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1996

40

(review of digital radio broadcasting).

(3)   

The Secretary of State—

 
 

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

39

 

(a)   

may nominate different dates for different services, and

(b)   

may give notice to OFCOM withdrawing a nomination under

this section.

(4)   

In this section and section 97B—

“date for digital switchover”, in relation to a post-commencement

5

service, means a date after which it will cease to be appropriate

for the service to continue to be provided in analogue form;

“post-commencement service” means a local service, national

service or additional service that is provided under a licence

that—

10

(a)   

was granted on or after the day on which this section

comes into force, or

(b)   

has been renewed under section 103B or 104AA.

97B     

Variation of licence period after date for digital switchover nominated

(1)   

This section applies if the Secretary of State has nominated a date for

15

digital switchover for a post-commencement service (and has not

withdrawn the nomination).

(2)   

If the period for which the licence to provide the post-commencement

service is to continue in force ends after the date for digital switchover,

OFCOM must by notice vary the licence so that the period ends on or

20

before that date, subject to subsection (3).

(3)   

OFCOM may not reduce the period so that it ends less than 2 years after

the day on which they issue the notice, unless the licence holder

consents to such a reduction.

(4)   

If the period for which the licence to provide the post-commencement

25

service is to continue in force ends on or before the date for digital

switchover, OFCOM may not vary the licence so that the period ends

after that date.”

(3)   

In section 199(5) of that Act (publication of notices by OFCOM), after “55,”

insert “97B,”.

30

32      

Renewal of national radio licences

(1)   

In section 103A of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (renewal of national licences), in

subsection (1), after “renewed” insert “under this section”.

(2)   

After that section insert—

“103B   

Further renewal of national licences

35

(1)   

A national licence may be renewed under this section on one occasion

for a period of not more than 7 years beginning with the date of renewal

(“the renewal period”) (subject to the following provisions of this

section).

(2)   

Subsections (2) to (9), (11) and (12) of section 103A apply in relation to

40

the renewal of a licence under this section as they apply in relation to

the renewal of a licence under section 103A, subject to subsection (3).

(3)   

Those provisions apply in relation to the renewal of a licence under this

section as if the following were omitted—

 
 

 
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