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Communications Act 2003

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Communications Act 2003 List of acts
 Selected UK Acts and Regulations
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Crown Copyright Acknowledged

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

Accessible domestic communications apparatus

10. Duty to encourage availability of easily usable apparatus

Media literacy

11. Duty to promote media literacy

OFCOM’s Content Board

12. Duty to establish and maintain Content Board

13. Functions of the Content Board

Functions for the protection of consumers

14. Consumer research

15. Duty to publish and take account of research

16. Consumer consultation

17. Membership etc. of the Consumer Panel

18. Committees and other procedure of the Consumer Panel

19. Power to amend remit of Consumer Panel

Advisory committees

20. Advisory committees for different parts of the United Kingdom

21. Advisory committee on elderly and disabled persons

International matters

22. Representation on international and other bodies

23. Directions for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions

General information functions

24. Provision of information to the Secretary of State

25. Community requirement to provide information

26. Publication of information and advice for consumers etc.

Employment in broadcasting

27. Training and equality of opportunity


28. General power to charge for services


29. Secretary of State guarantees for OFCOM borrowing

Provisions supplemental to transfer of functions

30. Transfers of property etc. from pre-commencement regulators

31. Transitional functions and abolition of pre-commencement regulators

Part 2

Networks, services and the radio spectrum

Chapter 1

Electronic communications networks and services


32. Meaning of electronic communications networks and services

Notification by providers

33. Advance notification to OFCOM

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

35. Notification of contraventions of s. 33

36. Enforcement notification for contravention of s. 33

37. Penalties for contravention of s. 33

Administrative charges imposed on providers

38. Fixing of charges

39. Supplemental provision about fixing charges

40. Notification of non-payment of charges

41. Penalties for non-payment of charges

42. Suspending service provision for non-payment

43. Enforcement of directions under s. 42

Register of providers required to notify or to pay charges

44. Duty of OFCOM to keep publicly accessible register

Conditions of entitlement to provide network or service etc.

45. Power of OFCOM to set conditions

46. Persons to whom conditions may apply

47. Test for setting or modifying conditions

48. Procedure for setting, modifying and revoking conditions

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

50. Delivery of copies of notifications etc.

General conditions: subject-matter

51. Matters to which general conditions may relate

General conditions: customer interests

52. Conditions relating to customer interests

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

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

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

General conditions: telephone numbers

56. The National Telephone Numbering Plan

57. Conditions to secure access to telephone numbers

58. Conditions about allocation and adoption of numbers

59. Telephone numbering conditions binding non-providers

60. Modification of documents referred to in numbering conditions

61. Withdrawal of telephone number allocations

62. Numbering reorganisations

63. General duty as to telephone numbering functions

General conditions: must-carry obligations

64. Must-carry obligations

Universal service conditions

65. Obligations to be secured by universal service conditions

66. Designation of universal service providers

67. Subject-matter of universal service conditions

68. Tariffs etc. for universal services

69. Directories and directory enquiry facilities

70. Review of compliance costs

71. Sharing of burden of universal service obligations

72. Report on sharing mechanism

Access-related conditions

73. Permitted subject-matter of access-related conditions

74. Specific types of access-related conditions

75. Conditional access systems and access to digital services

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

Privileged supplier conditions

77. Imposition of privileged supplier conditions

SMP conditions: procedure

78. Circumstances required for the setting of SMP conditions

79. Market power determinations

80. Proposals for identifying markets and for market power determinations

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

82. European Commission’s powers in respect of proposals

83. Special rules for transnational markets

84. Review of services market identifications and determinations

85. Review of apparatus market identifications and determinations

86. Cases where review required

SMP services conditions: subject-matter

87. Conditions about network access etc.

88. Conditions about network access pricing etc.

89. Conditions about network access in exceptional cases

90. Conditions about carrier selection and pre-selection

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

92. Conditions about leased lines

SMP apparatus conditions: subject-matter

93. Conditions about apparatus supply

Enforcement of conditions

94. Notification of contravention of conditions

95. Enforcement notification for contravention of conditions

96. Penalties for contravention of conditions

97. Amount of penalty under s. 96

98. Power to deal with urgent cases

99. Confirmation of directions under s. 98

100. Suspending service provision for contraventions of conditions

101. Suspending apparatus supply for contraventions of conditions

102. Procedure for directions under ss. 100 and 101

103. Enforcement of directions under ss. 98, 100 and 101

104. Civil liability for breach of conditions or enforcement notification

OFCOM’s duty to intervene on network access issues

105. Consideration and determination of network access questions

Electronic communications code

106. Application of the electronic communications code

107. Procedure for directions applying code

108. Register of persons in whose case code applies

109. Restrictions and conditions subject to which code applies

110. Enforcement of restrictions and conditions

111. Enforcement notification for contravention of code restrictions

112. Penalties for contravention of code restrictions

113. Suspension of application of code

114. Procedure for directions under s. 113

115. Modification and revocation of application of code

116. Notification of cessation by person to whom code applies

117. Transitional schemes on cessation of application of code

118. Compulsory acquisition of land etc.

119. Power to give assistance in relation to certain proceedings

Regulation of premium rate services

120. Conditions regulating premium rate services

121. Approval of code for premium rate services

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

123. Enforcement of s. 120 conditions

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

Offences relating to networks and services

125. Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services

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

127. Improper use of public electronic communications network

Persistent misuse of network or service

128. Notification of misuse of networks and services

129. Enforcement notifications for stopping persistent misuse

130. Penalties for persistent misuse

131. Statement of policy on persistent misuse

Powers to deal with emergencies

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

133. Enforcement of directions under s. 132

Restrictions in leases and licences

134. Restrictions in leases and licences

Information provisions

135. Information required for purposes of Chapter 1 functions

136. Information required for related purposes

137. Restrictions on imposing information requirements

138. Notification of contravention of information requirements

139. Penalties for contravention of information requirements

140. Suspending service provision for information contraventions

141. Suspending apparatus supply for information contraventions

142. Procedure for directions under ss. 140 and 141

143. Enforcement of directions under ss. 140 and 141

144. Offences in connection with information requirements

145. Statement of policy on information gathering

146. Provision of information by OFCOM

Abolition of telecommunications licensing etc.

147. Repeal of provisions of Telecommunications Act 1984

Local authority powers in relation to networks and services

148. Powers of local authorities in connection with networks

Grants for networks and services in Northern Ireland

149. Grants by Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

150. Grants by district councils

Interpretation of Chapter 1

151. Interpretation of Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Spectrum use

General functions relating to spectrum use

152. General functions of OFCOM in relation to radio spectrum

153. United Kingdom Plan for Frequency Authorisation

154. Duties of OFCOM when carrying out spectrum functions

155. Advisory service in relation to interference

156. Directions with respect to the radio spectrum

157. Procedure for directions under s. 156

Reservation of spectrum for multiplex use

158. Special duty in relation to television multiplexes

Recognised spectrum access

159. Grant of recognised spectrum access

160. Effect of grant of recognised spectrum access

161. Charges in respect of grants of recognised spectrum access

162. Conversion into and from wireless telegraphy licences

Crown use of the radio spectrum

163. Payments for use of radio spectrum by the Crown

Limitations and exemptions applied to spectrum use

164. Limitations on authorised spectrum use

165. Terms etc. of wireless telegraphy licences

166. Exemption from need for wireless telegraphy licence

Award and transfer of licences

167. Bidding for wireless telegraphy licences

168. Spectrum trading

Variation and revocation of licences

169. Variation and revocation of wireless telegraphy licences

Wireless telegraphy register

170. Wireless telegraphy register

Information requirements

171. Information requirements in relation to wireless telegraphy licences

Criminal proceedings etc.

172. Contraventions of conditions for use of wireless telegraphy

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

174. Procedure for prosecutions of wireless telegraphy offences

175. Special procedure for contraventions by multiplex licence holders

176. Amount of penalty under s. 175

177. "Relevant amount of gross revenue" for the purposes of s. 176

178. Proceedings for an offence relating to apparatus use

179. Modification of penalties for certain wireless telegraphy offences

180. Fixed penalties for certain wireless telegraphy offences

181. Power of arrest

182. Forfeiture etc. of restricted apparatus

Construction of 1949 Act

183. Modification of definition of "undue interference"

184. Modification of definition of "wireless telegraphy"

Chapter 3

Disputes and appeals


185. Reference of disputes to OFCOM

186. Action by OFCOM on dispute reference

187. Legal proceedings about referred disputes

188. Procedure for resolving disputes

189. Disputes involving other member States

190. Resolution of referred disputes

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


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

193. Reference of price control matters to the Competition Commission

194. Composition of Competition Commission for price control references

195. Decisions of the Tribunal

196. Appeals from the Tribunal

Interpretation of Chapter 3

197. Interpretation of Chapter 3

Part 3

Television and Radio Services

Chapter 1

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


198. Functions of OFCOM in relation to the BBC


199. Functions of C4C

200. Removal of members of C4C

201. Deficits and surpluses of C4C

202. Borrowing limit for C4C

The Welsh Authority

203. Function of OFCOM in relation to the Welsh Authority

204. Welsh Authority’s function of providing S4C and S4C Digital

205. Powers to provide other services

206. Other activities of Welsh Authority

207. Welsh Authority finances

The Gaelic Media Service

208. The Gaelic Media Service

209. Membership of the Service

210. Supplementary provisions about the Service

Chapter 2

Regulatory Structure for Independent Television Services


211. Regulation of independent television services

212. Abolition of function of assigning television frequencies

213. Abolition of licensing for local cable systems

Channels 3 and 5

214. Digital Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences

215. Replacement of existing Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences

216. Renewal of Channel 3 and 5 licences

217. Financial terms of licence renewed under s. 216

The public teletext service

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

219. Licensing of the public teletext service

220. Delegation of provision of public teletext service

221. Replacement of existing public teletext provider’s licence

222. Renewal of public teletext licence

223. Financial terms of licence renewed under s. 222

Meaning of initial expiry date

224. Meaning of "initial expiry date"

Reviews relating to licensing of Channels 3 & 5 and teletext

225. Application for review of financial terms of replacement licences

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

227. Reviews under ss. 225 and 226

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

229. Report in anticipation of new licensing round

230. Orders suspending rights of renewal

Replacement of Channel 4 licence

231. Replacement of Channel 4 licence

Television licensable content services

232. Meaning of "television licensable content service"

244. Local digital television services

Chapter 3

Regulatory Structure for Independent Radio Services


245. Regulation of independent radio services

Radio licensable content services

247. Meaning of "radio licensable content services"

248. Services that are not radio licensable content services

249. Modification of ss. 247 and 248

250. Licensing of radio licensable content services

251. Abolition of separate licences for certain sound services

Licence periods etc.

252. Extension of licence periods

253. Extension and modification of existing licences

254. Renewal of local licences

255. Extension of special application procedure for local licences

Provision of simulcast radio services

256. Definition of simulcast radio services

257. Promotion of simulcast radio services

Multiplexes broadcasting sound programmes

258. Radio multiplex services

259. Composition of services in radio multiplexes

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

261. Renewal of radio multiplex licences

Community radio

262. Community radio

Chapter 4

Regulatory provisions

Application of regulatory regimes

263. Application of regulatory regimes

The public service remit for television

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

265. Public service remits of licensed providers

266. Statements of programme policy

267. Changes of programme policy

268. Statements of service policy by the public teletext provider

269. Changes of service policy

270. Enforcement of public service remits

271. Power to amend public service remits

Must-offer obligations etc. affecting public service television

272. Must-offer obligations in relation to networks

273. Must-offer obligations in relation to satellite services

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

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

276. Co-operation with the public teletext provider

Programming quotas for public service television

277. Programming quotas for independent productions

278. Programming quotas for original productions

News provision etc. on public service television

279. News and current affairs programmes

280. Appointed news providers for Channel 3

281. Disqualification from appointment as news provider

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

283. News providers for Channel 5

284. News provision on the public teletext service

Independent and regional productions and programmes for public service television

285. Code relating to programme commissioning

286. Regional programme-making for Channels 3 and 5

287. Regional programmes on Channel 3

288. Regional programme-making for Channel 4

289. Regional matters in the public teletext service

Networking arrangements for Channel 3

290. Proposals for arrangements

291. Obligation as to making and continuance of approved arrangements

292. OFCOM’s power to impose arrangements

293. Review of approved networking arrangements etc.

294. Supplemental provision about networking arrangements

Special obligations for Channel 4

295. Involvement of C4 Corporation in programme-making

296. Schools programmes on Channel 4

297. Channel 4 contribution towards national television archive

Special obligation for the public teletext provider

298. Conditions prohibiting interference with other services

Sporting and other events of national interest

299. Categorisation of listed events

300. Effects of categorisation of listed events

301. Code relating to listed events

302. Regulations about coverage of listed events

Television services for the deaf and visually impaired

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

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

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

306. Power to modify targets in s. 303

307. Observance of code under s. 303

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

Programming quotas for digital television programme services

309. Quotas for independent programmes

Regulation of electronic programme guides

310. Code of practice for electronic programme guides

311. Conditions to comply with code under s. 310

Character and coverage of radio services

312. Character and coverage of sound broadcasting services

313. Consultation about change of character of local services

314. Local content and character of local sound broadcasting services

315. Variations of radio multiplex licences affecting service characteristics

Competition between licensed providers etc.

316. Conditions relating to competition matters

317. Exercise of Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose

318. Review of powers exercised for competition purposes

Programme and fairness standards for television and radio

319. OFCOM’s standards code

320. Special impartiality requirements

321. Objectives for advertisements and sponsorship

322. Supplementary powers relating to advertising

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

324. Setting and publication of standards

325. Observance of standards code

326. Duty to observe fairness code

327. Standards with respect to fairness

328. Duty to publicise OFCOM’s functions in relation to complaints

Power to proscribe unacceptable foreign television and radio services

329. Proscription orders

330. Effect of proscription order

331. Notification for enforcing proscription

332. Penalties for contravention of notification under s. 331

Party political broadcasts on television and radio

333. Party political broadcasts

Monitoring of programmes

334. Retention and production of recordings

International obligations

335. Conditions securing compliance with international obligations

Government requirements for licensed services

336. Government requirements for licensed services

Equal opportunities and training

337. Promotion of equal opportunities and training

Corresponding rules for the BBC and Welsh Authority

338. Corresponding rules for the BBC and the Welsh Authority

Enforcement against the Welsh Authority

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

340. Directions to Welsh Authority to take remedial action

341. Imposition of penalties on the Welsh Authority

342. Contraventions recorded in Welsh Authority’s annual report

343. Provision of information by Welsh Authority

Enforcement of licence conditions

344. Transmission of statement of findings

345. Financial penalties imposable on licence holders

346. Recovery of fees and penalties

Broadcasting Act licence fees

347. Statement of charging principles

Chapter 5

Media ownership and control

Restrictions on licence holders

348. Modification of disqualification provisions

349. Licence holding by local authorities

350. Relaxation of licence-holding restrictions

Changes of control

351. Changes of control of Channel 3 services

352. Action following review under s. 351

353. Changes of control of Channel 5

354. Action following review under s. 353

355. Variation of local licence following change of control

356. Action following review under s. 355

Meaning of control

357. Meaning of "control"

Chapter 6

Other provisions about television and radio services

Annual report on television and radio

358. Annual factual and statistical report

Community radio and local digital television

359. Grants to providers

Supplemental provisions of Part 3

360. Amendments of the 1990 and 1996 Acts

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

362. Interpretation of Part 3

Part 4

Licensing of TV reception

363. Licence required for use of TV receiver

364. TV licences

365. TV licence fees

366. Powers to enforce TV licensing

367. Interpretation of provisions about dealer notification

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

Part 5

Competition in communications markets

Chapter 1

Functions of OFCOM under competition legislation

369. Matters in relation to which OFCOM have competition functions

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

371. OFCOM’s functions under the Competition Act 1998

372. Application of the Competition Act 1998 to news provision

Chapter 2

Media mergers


373. Repeal of existing newspaper merger regime

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

Adaptation for media mergers of main merger regime

375. Media public interest considerations

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

377. Additional investigation and report by OFCOM

Extension of special public interest regime

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

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

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

New general functions in relation to media mergers

381. Public consultation in relation to media mergers

382. General information duties in relation to media mergers

383. Advice and information in relation to media mergers

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

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

386. Monitoring role for OFT in relation to media mergers

Supplemental provisions of Chapter 2

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

388. Alterations concerning newspaper panel of Competition Commission

389. Further provision in connection with media mergers

Part 6

Miscellaneous and Supplemental

Annual report

390. Annual report on the Secretary of State’s functions

Review of media ownership

391. Review of media ownership

Guidelines as to penalties

392. Penalties imposed by OFCOM

Disclosure of information

393. General restrictions on disclosure of information

Notifications etc. and electronic working

394. Service of notifications and other documents

395. Notifications and documents in electronic form

396. Timing and location of things done electronically

Other miscellaneous provisions

397. Purchase of Duchy of Lancaster land

398. Repeal of certain provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1984


399. Expenses

400. Destination of licence fees and penalties

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

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

403. Regulations and orders made by OFCOM

404. Criminal liability of company directors etc.

405. General interpretation

406. Minor and consequential amendments, transitionals and repeals

407. Pre-consolidation amendments

408. Transitional provision for anticipatory carrying out of functions

409. Modifications consequential on regulations implementing Directives

410. Application of enactments to territorial sea and other waters

411. Short title, commencement and extent

Schedule 1: Functions transferred to OFCOM

Schedule 2: Transfer schemes

Schedule 3: Amendments of Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act 1984

Schedule 4: Compulsory purchase and entry for exploratory purposes

Schedule 5: Procedure for grants of recognised spectrum access

Schedule 6: Fixed penalties for wireless telegraphy offences

Schedule 7: Seizure and forfeiture of apparatus

Schedule 8: Decisions not subject to appeal

Schedule 9: Arrangements about carrying on of C4C’s activities

Schedule 10: Licensing the public teletext service

Part 1: Applications for and award of licence

Part 2: Conditions and enforcement of licence

Part 3: Interpretation of Schedule

Schedule 11: Approval, imposition and modification of networking arrangements

Schedule 12: Corresponding obligations of the BBC and Welsh Authority

Part 1: The BBC

Part 2: The Welsh Authority

Schedule 13: Financial penalties under the Broadcasting Acts

Part 1: Broadcasting Act 1990

Part 2: Broadcasting Act 1996

Schedule 14: Media ownership rules

Part 1: Channel 3 services

Part 2: Radio multiplex services

Part 3: Local sound programme services

Part 4: Religious bodies etc.

Part 5: Supplemental provisions of Schedule

Schedule 15: Amendments of Broadcasting Acts

Part 1: Amendments of the 1990 Act

Part 2: Amendments of the 1996 Act

Schedule 16: Further amendments in connection with media mergers

Schedule 17: Minor and Consequential Amendments

Schedule 18: Transitional Provisions

Schedule 19: Repeals


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.

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