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Communications Bill


Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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International matters

 19    Representation on international and other bodies

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to do, as respects the United Kingdom, such of

the following things as they are required to do by the Secretary of State—

           (a)           provide representation on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government in the

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United Kingdom on international and other bodies having

communications functions;

           (b)           become or serve as a member of an international or other body having

such functions;

           (c)           subscribe to such a body;

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           (d)           provide representation on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government in the

United Kingdom at international meetings about communications.

     (2)    OFCOM shall also have the power, if requested to do so by the Secretary of

State, to do one or more of those things as respects any of the Channel Islands,

the Isle of Man or a British overseas territory.

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     (3)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to carry out their functions under this section in

accordance with such general or specific directions as may be given to them by

the Secretary of State.

     (4)    The Secretary of State—

           (a)           is not entitled to direct OFCOM to comply with a request made under

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subsection (2); but

           (b)           may give directions about how OFCOM are to carry out any

representative role that they undertake in accordance with such a

request.

     (5)    In this section—

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                    “communications functions” means—

                  (a)                 functions relating to the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum

for wireless telegraphy;

                  (b)                 functions relating to the regulation of television or radio

broadcasting or the provision of television and radio services;

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and

                  (c)                 any other function which relates to, or is connected with, a

matter in respect of which OFCOM have functions;

                    “international meetings about communications” means international

meetings relating to, or to matters connected with, one or more of the

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following—

                  (a)                 the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless

telegraphy;

                  (b)                 the regulation of television or radio broadcasting or of the

provision of television and radio services;

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                  (c)                 any other matter in respect of which OFCOM have functions.

     (6)    In relation to—

           (a)           a part of the British Islands outside the United Kingdom, or

           (b)           a British overseas territory,

            the references in subsection (5) to matters in respect of which OFCOM have

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functions include references to matters corresponding, in the case of that part

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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of those Islands or of that territory, to matters in respect of which OFCOM’s

functions are confined to the United Kingdom.

     (7)    In subsection (5) “television or radio broadcasting” includes the provision by

means other than broadcasting of services similar to those provided by

television or radio broadcasts.

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 20    Directions for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions

     (1)    This section applies to—

           (a)           OFCOM’s functions under the enactments relating to broadcasting;

and

           (b)           the matters in relation to which those functions are conferred.

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     (2)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM—

           (a)           to carry out those functions in accordance with any general or specific

directions given to them by the Secretary of State for the purpose

mentioned in subsection (3); and

           (b)           to carry out such other functions in relation to the matters to which this

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this section applies as they are required to carry out by any general or

specific directions so given.

     (3)    The Secretary of State is not to give a direction under this section except for the

purpose of securing compliance, in relation to a matter to which this section

applies, with an international obligation of the United Kingdom.

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     (4)    A direction under this section must be contained in an order made by the

Secretary of State.

     (5)    In this section “the enactments relating to broadcasting” means—

           (a)           the 1990 Act;

           (b)           the 1996 Act;

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           (c)           Part 3 of this Act; and

           (d)           the other provisions of this Act so far as relating to the 1990 Act, the

1996 Act or that Part.

General information functions

 21    Provision of information to the Secretary of State

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     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to comply with a direction by the Secretary of

State to provide him with information falling within subsection (2).

     (2)    The information that may be the subject of a direction under this section is any

information reasonably required by the Secretary of State for the purpose of

enabling him to secure compliance with an international obligation of the

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United Kingdom.

     (3)    Information that is required to be provided by a direction under this section

must be provided in such manner and at such times as may be required by the

direction.

 22    Community requirement to provide information

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     (1)    This section applies if—

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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           (a)           the European Commission requires OFCOM to provide it with

information for the purpose of enabling it to perform any of its

functions in relation to electronic communications networks, electronic

communications services or associated facilities; and

           (b)           the information is information obtained by OFCOM in the course of

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carrying out any of their functions under—

                  (i)                 Part 2; or

                  (ii)                the enactments relating to the management of the radio

spectrum that are not contained in that Part.

     (2)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to comply with the requirement.

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     (3)    If information provided to the European Commission under this section has

been obtained by OFCOM from a person who is or, at the time the information

was obtained from him, was—

           (a)           a communications provider, or

           (b)           a person making associated facilities available,

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            OFCOM must notify him that they have provided the information to the

Commission.

     (4)    It shall be for OFCOM to determine the manner in which a notification is given

under subsection (3).

 23    Publication of information and advice for consumers etc.

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     (1)    OFCOM may arrange for the publication of such information and advice about

matters in relation to which they have functions as it appears to them to be

appropriate to make available to the persons mentioned in subsection (2).

     (2)    Those persons are—

           (a)           the customers of communications providers;

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           (b)           the customers of persons who make associated facilities available;

           (c)           persons who use electronic communications networks, electronic

communications services or associated facilities; and

           (d)           persons to whom radio and television services are provided or who are

otherwise able or likely to take advantage of any of those services.

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     (3)    In arranging for the publication of information or advice under this section,

OFCOM must have regard to the need to exclude from publication, so far as

that is practicable, the matters which are confidential in accordance with

subsections (4) and (5).

     (4)    A matter is confidential under this subsection if—

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           (a)           it relates specifically to the affairs of a particular body; and

           (b)           publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,

seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.

     (5)    A matter is confidential under this subsection if—

           (a)           it relates to the private affairs of an individual; and

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           (b)           publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,

seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual.

     (6)    The publication of information or advice under this section must be in such

manner as OFCOM consider appropriate.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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Employment in broadcasting

 24    Training and equality of opportunity

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all such steps as they consider

appropriate for promoting the development of opportunities for the training

and retraining of persons—

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           (a)           for employment by persons providing television and radio services;

and

           (b)           for work in connection with the provision of such services otherwise

than as an employee.

     (2)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all such steps as they consider

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appropriate for promoting equality of opportunity in relation to both—

           (a)           employment by those providing television and radio services; and

           (b)           the training and retraining of persons for such employment.

     (3)    It shall also be the duty of OFCOM, in relation to such employment, training

and retraining, to take all such steps as they consider appropriate for

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promoting the fair treatment of disabled persons.

     (4)    The reference in subsection (2) to equality of opportunity is a reference to

equality of opportunity—

           (a)           between men and women; and

           (b)           between persons of different racial groups.

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     (5)    In this section—

                    “disabled” has the same meaning as in the Disability Discrimination Act

1995 (c. 50);

                    “racial group” has the same meaning as in the Race Relations Act 1976

(c. 74) or, in Northern Ireland, the Race Relations (Northern Ireland)

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Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/869 (N.I. 6)).

     (6)    The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (4) by adding any other

form of equality of opportunity that he considers appropriate.

     (7)    No order is to be made containing provision authorised by subsection (6)

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

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resolution of each House.

Charging

 25    General power to charge for services

     (1)    OFCOM may provide a service to which this section applies to any person on

such terms as to the making of payments to OFCOM—

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           (a)           as they may determine in advance; or

           (b)           as may be agreed between that person and OFCOM.

     (2)    This section applies to a service which is provided by OFCOM to a person in

the course of carrying out their functions and is neither—

           (a)           a service which OFCOM are under a duty to provide to that person; nor

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           (b)           one in respect of which express provision is made by or under an

enactment for authorising or forbidding the payment of fees or charges.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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     (3)    In this section references to providing a service to a person include references

to a service consisting in—

           (a)           the giving of advice to that person;

           (b)           the entry of his particulars in a register or other record kept by OFCOM

otherwise than in pursuance of an express statutory duty to keep the

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register or records; or

           (c)           the taking of steps for the purposes of determining whether to grant an

application for an entry in a register or record so kept.

Guarantees

 26    Secretary of State guarantees for OFCOM borrowing

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     (1)    The Secretary of State may guarantee—

           (a)           the repayment of the principal of any borrowing by OFCOM;

           (b)           the payment of interest on any such borrowing; and

           (c)           the discharge of other financial obligations incurred by OFCOM in

connection with any such borrowing.

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     (2)    The power of the Secretary of State to give a guarantee under this section is a

power (subject to subsection (3)) to give it in such manner and on such

conditions as he thinks fit.

     (3)    The Secretary of State must not give a guarantee under this section if the

aggregate of—

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           (a)           the amounts that he may be required to pay for fulfilling that

guarantee, and

           (b)           the amounts that he may be required to pay for fulfilling other

guarantees previously given under this section and still in force,

            exceeds £5 million.

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     (4)    The Secretary of State may by order substitute another amount for the amount

for the time being specified in subsection (3).

     (5)    No order is to be made containing provision authorised by subsection (4)

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

resolution of the House of Commons.

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     (6)    Immediately after a guarantee is given under this section, the Secretary of State

must lay a statement of the guarantee before each House of Parliament.

     (7)    Where any sum is paid by the Secretary of State under a guarantee given under

this section, he must lay a statement relating to that sum before each House of

Parliament as soon as practicable after the end of each of the financial years—

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           (a)           beginning with the one in which the sum is paid; and

           (b)           ending with the one in which OFCOM’s liabilities under subsection (8)

in respect of that sum are finally discharged.

     (8)    If sums are paid by the Secretary of State in fulfilment of a guarantee given

under this section OFCOM must pay him—

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           (a)           such amounts in or towards the repayment to him of those sums as he

may direct; and

           (b)           interest, at such rates as he may determine, on amounts outstanding

under this subsection.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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     (9)    Payments to the Secretary of State under subsection (8) must be made at such

times and in such manner as he may determine.

Provisions supplemental to transfer of functions

 27    Transfers of property etc. from pre-commencement regulators

     (1)    The Secretary of State may, by a direction to any of the pre-commencement

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regulators, require that regulator to make one or more schemes for the transfer

from that regulator to OFCOM of such of the regulator’s property, rights and

liabilities as may be specified or described in the direction.

     (2)    Where a pre-commencement regulator is required to make a scheme, the

scheme must be made by such date as may be specified in the direction.

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     (3)    Before making a scheme in pursuance of a direction under subsection (1), a pre-

commencement regulator must consult OFCOM.

     (4)    A pre-commencement regulator who makes a scheme in pursuance of a

direction under subsection (1) shall submit that scheme to the Secretary of State

for approval.

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     (5)    A scheme that is required to be so submitted shall have effect only if, and to the

extent that, it is approved by the Secretary of State.

     (6)    The Secretary of State, in approving a scheme, may do so subject to such

modifications as he thinks fit.

     (7)    Where the Secretary of State approves a scheme subject to modifications

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specified by him, it shall have effect with those modifications.

     (8)    A scheme approved by the Secretary of State under this section shall come into

force either—

           (a)           if no time is appointed under paragraph (b), at the time when the

approval is given; or

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           (b)           if the Secretary of State appoints a later time for the coming into force

of the scheme (whether when approving the scheme or by

subsequently varying a time appointed under this paragraph), at that

later time.

     (9)    Where a scheme is submitted to the Secretary of State under this section, he

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must—

           (a)           consult OFCOM about any proposal of his to approve the scheme; and

           (b)           consult both OFCOM and the pre-commencement regulator in

question about any modifications subject to which he proposes to give

his approval, or about any proposal of his to refuse approval.

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     (10)   The Secretary of State may, after consulting OFCOM, himself make a scheme

for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities—

           (a)           from a pre-commencement regulator to OFCOM; or

           (b)           from himself to OFCOM;

            and such a scheme shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State

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may appoint (whether in the scheme or subsequently).

     (11)   The Secretary of State is not to make a scheme for the transfer of property,

rights and liabilities from a pre-commencement regulator to OFCOM unless—

 

 

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

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           (a)           that regulator has failed to comply with a direction under subsection

(1); or

           (b)           that regulator has complied with such a direction by submitting a

scheme to the Secretary of State that he has decided not to approve

(with or without modifications).

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     (12)   Schedule 2 (which makes further provision about schemes under this section)

shall have effect.

 28    Transitional functions and abolition of pre-commencement regulators

     (1)    It shall be the duty of the pre-commencement regulators to take all such steps

as are necessary or expedient for ensuring that OFCOM are able effectively to

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carry out OFCOM’s functions from the time when they are vested in OFCOM.

     (2)    The pre-commencement regulators, in taking those steps, must comply with

every direction given to them by the Secretary of State.

     (3)    The pre-commencement regulators and OFCOM shall each have a duty to

provide the Secretary of State with all such information and assistance as he

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may require for the purposes of, or in connection with—

           (a)           his power to give directions under subsection (1) of section 27; and

           (b)           his powers and duties in relation to the approval and making of

schemes under that section.

     (4)    On such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint—

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           (a)           the office of the Director General of Telecommunications shall be

abolished; and

           (b)           the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television

Commission and the Radio Authority shall cease to exist.

     (5)    Section 54 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 (c. 12) (which provides for the

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establishment of advisory bodies) shall cease to have effect; and each of the

bodies established under that section shall cease to exist on such day as the

Secretary of State may by order appoint.

     (6)    Different days may be appointed under this section for the Director General of

Telecommunications and for each of the different bodies mentioned in

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subsections (4)(b) and (5).

Part 2

Networks, services and the radio spectrum

Chapter 1

Electronic communications networks and services

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Preliminary

 29    Meaning of electronic communications networks and services

     (1)    In this Act “electronic communications network” means—

           (a)           a transmission system for the conveyance, by the use of electrical,

magnetic or electro-magnetic energy, of signals of any description; and

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