House of Lords portcullis
House of Lords
Session 2002 - 03
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Communications Bill


Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    48

 

     (7)    Subsection (6) does not apply where—

           (a)           the notification or the notified proposal relates to an SMP apparatus

condition, or to a direction, approval or consent for the purposes of

such a condition;

           (b)           the direction, approval or consent given, modified or withdrawn is for

5

the purposes of such a condition.

     (8)    In this section “the relevant person”, in relation to a notification, direction,

approval or consent—

           (a)           except in a case falling within paragraph (b), means the person by

whom it is published or (as the case may be) the person by whom it has

10

been or is to be given, modified or withdrawn; and

           (b)           in the case of a direction, approval or consent given, modified or

withdrawn by a person other than OFCOM for the purpose of giving

effect to a proposal published by OFCOM under section 46(4), means

OFCOM.

15

General conditions: subject matter

 48    Matters to which general conditions may relate

     (1)    Subject to sections 49 to 61, the only conditions that may be set under section

42 as general conditions are conditions falling within one or more of the

following paragraphs—

20

           (a)           conditions making such provision as OFCOM consider appropriate for

protecting the interests of the end-users of public electronic

communications services;

           (b)           conditions making such provision as OFCOM consider appropriate for

securing service interoperability and for securing, or otherwise relating

25

to, network access;

           (c)           conditions making such provision as OFCOM consider appropriate for

securing the proper and effective functioning of public electronic

communications networks;

           (d)           conditions for giving effect to determinations or regulations made

30

under section 68;

           (e)           conditions requiring or regulating the provision, availability and use,

in the event of a disaster, of electronic communications networks,

electronic communications services and associated facilities;

           (f)           conditions making such provision as OFCOM consider appropriate for

35

securing the protection of public health by the prevention or avoidance

of the exposure of individuals to electro-magnetic fields created in

connection with the operation of electronic communications networks;

           (g)           conditions requiring compliance with relevant international standards.

     (2)    The power under subsection (1)(a) to set conditions for protecting the interests

40

of the end-users of public electronic communications services includes power

to set conditions for that purpose which—

           (a)           relate to the supply, provision or making available of goods, services or

facilities in association with the provision of public electronic

communications services; and

45

           (b)           give effect to Community obligations to provide protection for such

end-users in relation to the supply, provision or making available of

those goods, services or facilities.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    49

 

     (3)    The power to set general conditions in relation to a description of electronic

communications network or electronic communications service does not

include power—

           (a)           to set conditions that are made applicable according to the identity of

the provider of a network or service; or

5

           (b)           to set conditions that differ according to the identity of the provider of

the networks or services to which they relate.

     (4)    The power to set general conditions falling within subsection (1)(b) does not

include power to set conditions containing provision which under—

           (a)           section 70, or

10

           (b)           any of sections 84 to 89,

            must be or may be included, in a case in which it appears to OFCOM to be

appropriate to do so, in an access-related condition or SMP condition.

     (5)    The conditions falling within subsection (1)(c) include conditions making such

provision as OFCOM consider appropriate for the purpose, in accordance with

15

Community obligations, of preventing or restricting electro-magnetic

interference—

           (a)           with the provision of an electronic communications network or

electronic communications service; or

           (b)           with, or with the receipt of, anything conveyed or provided by means

20

of such a network or service.

     (6)    In this section “electro-magnetic interference” means interference by means of

the emission or reflection of electro-magnetic energy in the course of, or in

connection with, the provision any electronic communications network or

electronic communications service;

25

     (7)    In this section “disaster” includes any major incident having a significant effect

on the general public; and for this purpose a major incident includes any

incident of contamination involving radioactive substances or other toxic

materials.

General conditions: customer interests

30

 49    Conditions relating to customer interests

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set such general conditions (if any) as they

consider appropriate for securing that—

           (a)           public communications providers, or

           (b)           such descriptions of them as OFCOM consider appropriate,

35

            establish and maintain procedures, standards and policies with respect to the

matters mentioned in subsection (2).

     (2)    Those matters are—

           (a)           the handling of complaints made to public communications providers

by any of their domestic and small business customers;

40

           (b)           the resolution of disputes between such providers and any of their

domestic and small business customers;

           (c)           the provision of remedies and redress in respect of matters that form

the subject-matter of such complaints or disputes;

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    50

 

           (d)           the information about service standards and about the rights of

domestic and small business customers that is to be made available to

those customers by public communications providers;

           (e)           any other matter appearing to OFCOM to be necessary for securing

effective protection for the domestic and small business customers of

5

such providers.

     (3)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in setting conditions in accordance with

subsection (1), to secure so far as they consider appropriate—

           (a)           that the procedures established and maintained for the handling of

complaints and the resolution of disputes are easy to use, transparent

10

and effective;

           (b)           that domestic and small business customers have the right to use those

procedures free of charge; and

           (c)           that where public communications providers are in contravention of

conditions set in accordance with the preceding provisions of this

15

section, the providers follow such procedures as may be required by

the general conditions.

     (4)    Subject to section 52, OFCOM’s duties under subsections (1) and (3) so far as

relating to procedures for the handling of complaints are to be performed, to

such extent as they consider appropriate, by the setting of general conditions

20

requiring public communications providers to establish and maintain

procedures that conform with a code of practice which is—

           (a)           applicable to the providers to whom the conditions apply; and

           (b)           for the time being approved by OFCOM for the purposes of this

subsection.

25

     (5)    Subject to section 52, OFCOM’s duties under subsections (1) and (3) so far as

relating to procedures for resolving disputes are to be performed, to such

extent as they consider appropriate, by the setting of general conditions

requiring public communications providers—

           (a)           to establish and maintain procedures for resolving disputes; and

30

           (b)           to secure that those procedures are, and continue to be, approved by

OFCOM.

     (6)    In this section “domestic and small business customer”, in relation to a public

communications provider, means a customer of that provider who is neither—

           (a)           himself a communications provider; nor

35

           (b)           a person who is such a customer in respect of an undertaking carried on

by him for which more than ten individuals work (whether as

employees or volunteers or otherwise).

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

     (1)    Where a code of practice is submitted to OFCOM for approval, they shall

40

approve that code if and only if, in their opinion, it makes all such provision as

they consider necessary in relation to the matters dealt with in the code for the

protection of the domestic and small business customers of the public

communications providers to whom the code applies.

     (2)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to keep under review the codes of practice for

45

the time being approved by them.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    51

 

     (3)    OFCOM may at any time, by a notification given or published in such manner

as they consider appropriate—

           (a)           approve modifications that have been made to an approved code;

           (b)           withdraw their approval from a code; or

           (c)           give notice that the withdrawal of their approval will take effect from

5

such time as may be specified in the notification unless such

modifications of the code as are specified in the notification are made

before that time.

     (4)    In considering—

           (a)           whether to approve a code of practice, or

10

           (b)           whether or in what manner to exercise their powers under subsections

(2) and (3) of this section,

             OFCOM must have regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (5).

     (5)    Those matters are—

           (a)           the need to secure that customers are able readily to comprehend the

15

procedures that are provided for by an approved code of practice;

           (b)           the need to secure that there is consistency between the different codes

for the time being approved by OFCOM; and

           (c)           the need to secure that the number of different codes so approved is

kept to a minimum.

20

     (6)    In this section—

                    “approval” means approval for the purposes of section 49(4) and

“approve” and “approved” are to be construed accordingly; and

                    “domestic and small business customer” has the same meaning as in

section 49.

25

 51    Approval of dispute procedures for the purposes of s. 49

     (1)    Before giving their approval to any dispute procedures, OFCOM must consult

the Secretary of State.

     (2)    OFCOM are not to approve dispute procedures unless they are satisfied that

the arrangements under which the procedures have effect—

30

           (a)           are administered by person who is for practical purposes independent

(so far as decisions in relation to disputes are concerned) of both

OFCOM and the communications providers to whom the

arrangements apply;

           (b)           give effect to procedures that are easy to use, transparent and effective;

35

           (c)           give, in the case of every communications provider to whom the

arrangements apply, a right to each of his domestic and small business

customers to use the procedures free of charge;

           (d)           ensure that all information necessary for giving effect to the procedures

is obtained;

40

           (e)           ensure that disputes are effectively investigated;

           (f)           include provision conferring power to make awards of appropriate

compensation; and

           (g)           are such as to enable awards of compensation to be properly enforced.

     (3)    OFCOM may approve dispute procedures subject to such conditions

45

(including conditions as to the provision of information to OFCOM) as they

may think fit.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    52

 

     (4)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to keep under review the dispute procedures for

the time being approved by them.

     (5)    OFCOM may at any time, by a notification given or published in such manner

as they consider appropriate—

           (a)           modify the conditions of their approval of any dispute procedures or

5

withdraw such an approval; or

           (b)           give notice that the modification of those conditions, or the withdrawal

of such an approval, will take effect from such time as may be specified

in the notification unless the procedures (or the arrangements under

which they have effect) are modified before that time in the manner

10

required by the notification.

     (6)    In considering—

           (a)           whether to approve dispute procedures, or

           (b)           whether or in what manner to exercise their powers under subsections

(3) to (5),

15

            OFCOM must have regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (7).

     (7)    Those matters are—

           (a)           the need to secure that customers are able readily to comprehend

dispute procedures;

           (b)           the need to secure that there is consistency between the different

20

procedures for the time being approved by OFCOM; and

           (c)           the need to secure that the number of different sets of procedures so

approved is kept to a minimum.

     (8)    In this section—

                    “approval” means approval for the purposes of subsection (5) of section

25

49 and “approve” and “approved” are to be construed accordingly;

                    “dispute procedures” means any such procedures as may fall to be

approved for the purposes of that subsection; and

                    “domestic and small business customer” has the same meaning as in

section 49.

30

 52    Orders by OFCOM in the absence of conditions under s. 49

     (1)    OFCOM may make an order under this section if, at any time, they consider in

relation to any one or more public communications providers—

           (a)           that it is not practicable, or at least not appropriate, for OFCOM’s duties

under subsections (1) and (3) of section 49 to be performed in a

35

particular respect by the setting of general conditions; and

           (b)           that it is necessary to make the order for the purpose—

                  (i)                 of securing the necessary protection for the customers of that

provider or of those providers; or

                  (ii)                of securing compliance with a Community  obligation.

40

     (2)    An order under this section may make such of the following provisions as

OFCOM think fit—

           (a)           provision imposing requirements with respect to the complaints and

disputes mentioned in section 49(2);

           (b)           provision for the enforcement of those requirements;

45

           (c)           provision making other arrangements for the purposes of those

requirements.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    53

 

     (3)    The power to make provision by an order under this section includes, in

particular—

           (a)           power to establish a body corporate with the capacity to make its own

rules and to establish its own procedures;

           (b)           power to determine the jurisdiction of a body established by such an

5

order or, for the purposes of the order, of any other person;

           (c)           power to confer jurisdiction with respect to any matter on OFCOM

themselves;

           (d)           power to provide for a person on whom jurisdiction is conferred by the

arrangements to make awards of compensation, to direct the

10

reimbursement of costs or expenses, or to do both;

           (e)           power to provide for such a person to enforce, or to participate in the

enforcement of, any awards or directions made under such an order;

and

           (f)           power to make such other provision as OFCOM think fit for the

15

enforcement of such awards and directions.

     (4)    An order under this section may require such public communications

providers as may be determined by or under the order to make payments to

OFCOM in respect of expenditure incurred by OFCOM in connection with—

           (a)           the establishment and maintenance, in accordance with such an order,

20

of a body corporate or of a procedure; or

           (b)           the making of any other arrangements for the purposes of the

requirements of such an order.

     (5)    The consent of the Secretary of State is required for the making by OFCOM of

an order under this section.

25

     (6)    Section 396 applies to the power of OFCOM to make an order under under this

section.

     (7)    A statutory instrument containing an order made by OFCOM under this

section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either

House of Parliament.

30

General conditions: telephone numbers

 53    The National Telephone Numbering Plan

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to publish a document (to be known as “the

National Telephone Numbering Plan”) setting out—

           (a)           the numbers that they have determined to be available for allocation by

35

them as telephone numbers;

           (b)           such restrictions as they consider appropriate on the adoption of

numbers available for allocation in accordance with the plan; and

           (c)           such restrictions as they consider appropriate on the other uses to

which numbers available for allocation in accordance with the plan

40

may be put.

     (2)    It shall be OFCOM’s duty—

           (a)           from time to time to review the National Telephone Numbering Plan;

and

           (b)           to make any revision of that plan that they think fit in consequence of

45

such a review;

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 2 — Networks, services and the radio spectrum
Chapter 1 — Electronic communications networks and services

    54

 

            but this duty must be performed in compliance with the requirements, so far

as applicable, of section 57.

     (3)    OFCOM must also keep such day to day records as they consider appropriate

of the telephone numbers allocated by them in accordance with the National

Telephone Numbering Plan.

5

     (4)    The publication of the National Telephone Numbering Plan, or of a revision of

it, must be in such manner as appears to OFCOM to be appropriate for bringing

the contents of the Plan, or of the revised Plan, to the attention of such persons

as OFCOM consider appropriate.

     (5)    In this Chapter references to a telephone number are (subject to subsection (7))

10

references to any number that is used (whether or not in connection with

telephony) for any one or more of the following purposes—

           (a)           identifying the destination for, or recipient of, an electronic

communication;

           (b)           identifying the origin, or sender, of an electronic communication;

15

           (c)           identifying the route for an electronic communication;

           (d)           identifying the source from which an electronic communication or

electronic communications service may be obtained or accessed;

           (e)           selecting the service that is to be obtained or accessed, or required

elements or characteristics of that service; or

20

           (f)           identifying the communications provider by means of whose network

or service an electronic communication is to be transmitted, or treated

as transmitted.

     (6)    In this Chapter references to the adoption of a telephone number by a

communications provider are references to his doing any of the following in

25

relation to a number allocated (whether or not to that provider) by OFCOM—

           (a)           allocating or transferring that number to a particular customer or piece

of apparatus;

           (b)           using that number for identifying a service or route used by that

provider or by any of his customers;

30

           (c)           using that number for identifying a communication as one to be

transmitted by that provider;

           (d)           designating that number for use in selecting a service or the required

elements or characteristics of a service;

           (e)           authorising the use of that number by others for any of the purposes

35

mentioned in subsection (5).

     (7)    The Secretary of State may by order exclude such numbers as may be described

in the order from the numbers that are to be treated as telephone numbers for

the purposes of this Chapter.

     (8)    No order is to be made containing provision authorised by subsection (7)

40

unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a

resolution of each House.

     (9)    References in this section to the allocation of a number are references to its

allocation for the purposes of general conditions under section 55 or in

accordance with conditions under section 56.

45

     (10)   In this section—

                    “electronic communication” means a communication for transmission by

means of an electronic communications network; and

 

 

 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Revised 7 March 2003