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Session 2002 - 03
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Communications Bill


Communications Bill
Part 3 — Television and Radio Services
Chapter 4 — Regulatory provisions

    273

 

Regulation of electronic programme guides

 306   Code of practice for electronic programme guides

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to draw up, and from time to time to review and

revise, a code giving guidance as to the practices to be followed in the

provision of electronic programme guides.

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     (2)    The practices required by the code must include the giving, in the manner

provided for in the code, of such degree of prominence as OFCOM consider

appropriate to—

           (a)           the listing or promotion, or both the listing and promotion, of the

programmes included in the public service channels; and

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           (b)           the facilities for selecting or accessing those programmes.

     (3)           The practices required by the code must also include the incorporation of such

features in electronic programme guides as OFCOM consider appropriate for

securing that persons with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing or both —

           (a)           are able, so far as practicable, to make use of such guides for all the

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same purposes as persons without such disabilities; and

           (b)           are informed about, and are able to make use of, whatever assistance

for disabled people is provided in relation to the programmes listed or

promoted.

     (4)    Subject to subsection (5), in subsection (2) the reference to the public service

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channels is a reference to any of the following—

           (a)           any service of television programmes provided by the BBC in digital

form so as to be available for reception by members of the public;

           (b)           any Channel 3 service in digital form;

           (c)           Channel 4 in digital form;

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           (d)           Channel 5 in digital form;

           (e)           S4C Digital;

           (f)           the digital public teletext service.

     (5)    The Secretary of State may by order—

           (a)           add any programme service to the services for the time being specified

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in subsection (4) as public service channels; or

           (b)           delete a service from that subsection.

     (6)    Before making an order under subsection (5) the Secretary of State must

consult OFCOM.

     (7)    In this section “electronic programme guide” means a service which consists

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of—

           (a)           the listing or promotion, or both the listing and the promotion, of some

or all of the programmes included in any one or more programme

services the providers of which are or include persons other than the

provider of the guide; and

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           (b)           a facility for obtaining access, in whole or in part, to the programme

service or services listed or promoted in the guide.

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 3 — Television and Radio Services
Chapter 4 — Regulatory provisions

    274

 

 307   Conditions to comply with code under s. 306

     (1)    The regulatory regime for every service consisting in or including an electronic

programme guide includes whatever conditions (if any) OFCOM consider

appropriate for securing that the code maintained by them under section 306 is

observed in the provision of those services.

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     (2)    In this section “electronic programme guide” has the same meaning as in

section 306.

Character and coverage of radio services

 308   Character and coverage of sound broadcasting services

     (1)    Section 106 of the 1990 Act (requirements as to character and coverage of local

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and national radio services) shall be amended as follows.

     (2)    In subsection (1), the words from “except” onwards shall be omitted.

     (3)    After subsection (1) (duty to ensure character preserved subject to departures

that do not restrict service) there shall be inserted—

           “(1A)              Conditions included in a licence for the purposes of subsection (1) may

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provide that OFCOM may consent to a departure from the character of

the licensed service if, and only if, they are satisfied—

                  (a)                 that the departure would not substantially alter the character of

the service;

                  (b)                 that the departure would not narrow the range of programmes

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available by way of relevant independent radio services to

persons living in the area or locality for which the service is

licensed to be provided;

                  (c)                 that, in the case of a local licence, the departure would be

conducive to the maintenance or promotion of fair and effective

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competition in that area or locality; or

                  (d)                 that, in the case of a local licence, there is evidence that, amongst

persons living in that area or locality, there is a significant

demand for, or significant support for, the change that would

result from the departure.

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           (1B)              The matters to which OFCOM must have regard in determining for the

purposes of this section the character of a service provided under a

local licence include, in particular, the selection of spoken material and

music in programmes included in the service.”

     (4)    For subsection (5) (restriction on power to extend licence to new area or

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locality) there shall be substituted—

           “(5)              OFCOM shall only exercise the power conferred on them by subsection

(4) if it appears to them—

                  (a)                 that to do so would not result in a significant increase of the area

or locality for which the service in question is licensed to be

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provided; or

                  (b)                 that the increase that would result is justifiable in the

exceptional circumstances of the case.”

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 3 — Television and Radio Services
Chapter 4 — Regulatory provisions

    275

 

     (5)    After subsection (6) of that section there shall be inserted—

           “(7)              In this section ‘relevant independent radio services’ means the

following services so far as they are services falling to be regulated

under section 243 of the Communications Act 2003—

                  (a)                 sound broadcasting services;

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                  (b)                 radio licensable content services;

                  (c)                 additional services;

                         but, in relation to a departure from the character of a service provided

under a local licence, does not include a service that is provided

otherwise than wholly or mainly for reception by persons living and

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working in the area or locality in question.”

 309   Consultation about change of character of local services

After section 106 of the 1990 Act there shall be inserted—

       “106ZA              Consultation about change of character of local services

           (1)           Before deciding for the purposes of a condition imposed under section

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106(1A) whether to consent to a departure from the character of a

service provided under a local licence, OFCOM must publish a notice

specifying—

                  (a)                 the proposed departure; and

                  (b)                 the period in which representations may be made to OFCOM

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about the proposal.

           (2)           That period must end not less than 28 days after the date of publication

of the notice.

           (3)           The notice must be published in such manner as appears to OFCOM to

be appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in

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OFCOM’s opinion, are likely to be affected by the departure.

           (4)           OFCOM—

                  (a)                 are not required to publish a notice under this section, and

                  (b)                 may specify a period of less than 28 days in such a notice as the

period for representations,

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                         if they consider that the publication of the notice, or allowing a longer

period for representations, would result in a delay that would be likely

prejudicially to affect the interests of the licence holder.

           (5)           OFCOM are not required under this section—

                  (a)                 to publish any matter that is confidential in accordance with

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subsection (5) or (6); or

                  (b)                 to publish anything that it would not be reasonably practicable

to publish without disclosing such a matter.

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

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

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                  (b)                 its publication would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion, seriously

and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.

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

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

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 3 — Television and Radio Services
Chapter 4 — Regulatory provisions

    276

 

                  (b)                 its publication would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion, seriously

and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual.”

 310   Local content and character of local sound broadcasting services

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to carry out their functions in relation to local

sound broadcasting services in the manner that they consider is best calculated

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to secure—

           (a)           that programmes consisting of or including local material are included

in such services but, in the case of each such service, only if and to the

extent (if any) that OFCOM consider appropriate in that case; and

           (b)           that, where such programmes are included in such a service, what

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appears to OFCOM to be a suitable proportion of them consists of

locally-made programmes.

     (2)    OFCOM must—

           (a)           draw up guidance as to how they consider the requirements of

subsection (1)(a) and (b) should be satisfied; and

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           (b)           have regard to that guidance in carrying out their functions in relation

to local sound broadcasting services.

     (3)    The guidance may be different for different descriptions of services.

     (4)    OFCOM may revise the guidance from time to time.

     (5)    Before drawing up or revising the guidance, OFCOM must consult—

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           (a)           such persons as appear to them to represent the interests of persons for

whom local sound broadcasting services are or would be provided;

           (b)           persons holding licences to provide local sound broadcasting services

or persons appearing to represent such persons, or both; and

           (c)           such other persons as they consider appropriate.

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     (6)    OFCOM must publish the guidance and every revision of it in such manner as

they consider appropriate.

     (7)    In this section—

                     “local material”, in relation to a local sound broadcasting service, means

material which is of particular interest—

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                  (a)                 to persons living or working within the area or locality for

which the service is provided;

                  (b)                 to persons living or working within a part of that area or

locality; or

                  (c)                 to particular communities living or working within that area or

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locality or a part of it;

                    “locally-made”, in relation to programmes included in a local sound

broadcasting service, means made wholly or partly at premises in the

area or locality for which that service is provided;

                    “material” includes news, information and other spoken material and

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music; and

                    “programme” does not include an advertisement.

     (8)    References in this section to persons living or working within an area or

locality include references to persons undergoing education or training in that

area or locality.

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