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

    61

 

           (f)           the allocated numbers are comprised in a series of numbers which have

not to a significant extent been adopted or used during such period as

may be so specified.

     (3)    The withdrawal of an allocation is also authorised where—

           (a)           there have been serious and repeated contraventions, by the person to

5

whom the allocation is for the time being allocated, of the numbering

conditions; and

           (b)           it appears to OFCOM that the taking of other steps in respect of the

contraventions is likely to prove ineffective for securing future

compliance.

10

     (4)    The withdrawal of an allocation is also authorised where—

           (a)           the person to whom the allocation is for the time being allocated is not

a communications provider; and

           (b)           it appears to OFCOM that contraventions by that person of numbering

conditions makes the withdrawal of the allocation appropriate.

15

     (5)    OFCOM’s power to set conditions specifying circumstances for the purposes

of subsection (2)(d), and their power to withdraw an allocation in the specified

circumstances, are each exercisable only in a manner that does not discriminate

unduly—

           (a)           against particular communications providers;

20

           (b)           against particular users of the allocated numbers; or

           (c)           against a particular description of such providers or users;

            and the purposes for which those powers may be exercised do not include the

carrying out of a numbering reorganisation of the sort mentioned in subsection

(2)(c).

25

     (6)    Where OFCOM are proposing to withdraw an allocation in exercise of the

power conferred by virtue of subsection (2)(e) or (f), they must—

           (a)           give a notification of their proposal;

           (b)           consider any representations made to them about the proposal within

the period of one month following the day on which the notification is

30

given; and

           (c)           ensure that the withdrawal (if OFCOM decide to proceed with it after

considering those representations) does not take effect until the end of

the three months beginning with the end of the period mentioned in

paragraph (b).

35

     (7)    A notification for the purposes of subsection (6) must be given in such manner

as OFCOM consider appropriate for bringing it to the attention of—

           (a)           the person to whom the numbers to which the proposed withdrawal

relates are for the time being allocated;

           (b)           every person appearing to OFCOM to be a person to whom

40

communications are or may be transmitted using one of those numbers

for identifying the destination or route;

           (c)           every person who uses one or more of those numbers for obtaining

access to services or for communication; and

           (d)           every other person who, in OFCOM’s opinion, is likely to be affected

45

by the proposal.

     (8)    For the purposes of this section there are repeated contraventions by a person

of numbering conditions to the extent that—

 

 

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

    62

 

           (a)           in the case of a previous notification given to that person under section

92, OFCOM have determined for the purposes of section 93(2) or 94(2)

that a contravention of a numbering condition did occur; and

           (b)           in the period of twelve months following the day of the making of that

determination, one or more further notifications have been given to

5

that person in respect of contraventions of numbering conditions;

            and for the purposes of this subsection it shall be immaterial whether the

notifications related to the same contravention or to different contraventions of

the same or different conditions.

     (9)    In this section “numbering conditions” means—

10

           (a)           general conditions the making of which is authorised by section 56; or

           (b)           conditions set under section 57.

 60    Numbering reorganisations

     (1)    This section applies to the withdrawal of an allocation for the purposes of a

numbering reorganisation that is applicable to a particular series of telephone

15

numbers.

     (2)    The allocation is to be withdrawn only if the reorganisation, so far as it relates

to numbers of any description, is not such as to discriminate unduly—

           (a)           against particular communications providers;

           (b)           against particular users of the allocated numbers; or

20

           (c)           against a particular description of such providers or users.

     (3)    The allocation must not be withdrawn if the reorganisation fails to provide for

withdrawn allocations to be replaced by allocations of telephone numbers so

nearly resembling the numbers to which the withdrawal relates as the purpose

of the reorganisation allows.

25

     (4)    Where a replacement allocation is made for the purposes of the re-

organisation—

           (a)           no payment is to be made to OFCOM in respect of the making of the

replacement allocation; but

           (b)           subsection (5) is to apply.

30

     (5)    Where this subsection applies—

           (a)           a provision for the making of periodic payments in respect of the

withdrawn allocation is to be treated, to the extent that OFCOM

determine that it should, as a provision requiring the making of

periodic payments in respect of the replacement allocation; and

35

           (b)           OFCOM may, if they think fit, make such repayments or adjustments

of a provision for payment as appear to them to be appropriate in

consequence of differences between—

                  (i)                 the numbers to which the withdrawn allocation relates; and

                  (ii)                the numbers to which the replacement allocation relates.

40

 61    General duty as to telephone numbering functions

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in the carrying out of their functions under

sections 54 to 60

           (a)           to secure that what appears to them to be the best use is made of the

numbers that are appropriate for use as telephone numbers; and

45

 

 

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

    63

 

           (b)           to encourage efficiency and innovation for that purpose.

     (2)    It shall also be the duty of OFCOM, in carrying out those functions, to secure

that there is no undue discrimination by communications providers against

other communications providers in relation to the adoption of telephone

numbers for purposes connected with the use by one communications

5

provider, or his customers, of an electronic communications network or

electronic communications service provided by another.

     (3)    In this section “number” has the same meaning as in section 54.

General conditions: must-carry obligations

 62    Must-carry obligations

10

     (1)    General conditions may include conditions making any provision that

OFCOM consider appropriate for securing that particular services are

broadcast or otherwise transmitted by means of the electronic communications

networks described in the conditions.

     (2)    A general condition containing provision authorised by this section is not

15

(subject to subsection (4)) to require a service to be broadcast or otherwise

transmitted by means of an electronic communications network unless—

           (a)           the service is included in the list of must-carry services; and

           (b)           the effect of the requirement is confined to networks by means of which

public electronic communications services are provided that are used

20

by a significant number of end-users as their principal means of

receiving television programmes.

     (3)    That list is as follows—

           (a)           any service of television programmes provided by the BBC so far as it

is provided in digital form and is a service in relation to which OFCOM

25

have functions;

           (b)           the Channel 3 services so far as provided in digital form;

           (c)           Channel 4 so far as provided in digital form;

           (d)           Channel 5 so far as provided in digital form;

           (e)           S4C Digital;

30

           (f)           the digital public teletext service.

     (4)           General conditions making provision authorised by this section in relation to a

listed service must, to such extent as OFCOM consider appropriate (and

subject to subsection (5))—

           (a)           apply the requirement to broadcast or otherwise transmit that service

35

to every service which is an ancillary service by reference to the listed

service; and

           (b)           provide for the listed service to be treated for the purposes of the

conditions as constituting such other services comprised in or provided

with that service as may be determined by OFCOM.

40

     (5)    General conditions making provision authorised by this section must also

comply with all such restrictions (if any) as may be imposed by order made by

the Secretary of State as to the maximum and minimum amounts, or

proportions, of available capacity that are to be required by such conditions to

be used in the case of a network for the broadcasting or other transmission of

45

particular services, or descriptions of service.

 

 

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

    64

 

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

regard to—

           (a)           the objective of securing that services included in the list of must-carry

services, and the other services to which conditions set in accordance

with this section are likely to be applied by virtue of subsection (4), are

5

available for reception by as many members of the public in the United

Kingdom as practicable; and

           (b)           the need to secure that the amount of capacity available in the case of

every network for making other services available is reasonable and,

accordingly, that the burden of complying with conditions set in

10

accordance with this section is proportionate to the public benefit to be

secured by that objective.

     (7)    It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State from time to time to review—

           (a)           the list of must-carry services; and

           (b)           any requirements for the time being in force under this section with

15

respect to the terms on which services must be broadcast or otherwise

transmitted.

     (8)    Where the Secretary of State carries out such a review, he must consult the

following about the matters under review—

           (a)           OFCOM; and

20

           (b)           such persons who, in his opinion, are likely to be affected by a

modification of the list of must-carry services, or who represent any of

those persons, as he thinks fit.

     (9)    If, on such a review, he considers it appropriate to do so, the Secretary of State

may by order modify the list of must-carry services.

25

     (10)   In determining whether it is appropriate for the purposes of subsection (9) to

add a service to the list of must-carry services or to remove it, the Secretary of

State must have regard, in particular, to—

           (a)           the public benefit to be secured by the addition of the service to the list,

or by its retention in the list;

30

           (b)           the extent to which the service (if it were not included in the list) would

nevertheless be made available to an acceptable technical standard by

means of the networks to which conditions set in accordance with this

section apply;

           (c)           the capacity left available, after the requirements of those conditions

35

have been complied with, for the broadcasting or other transmission of

material by means of each of those networks; and

           (d)           the need to secure that the burden of complying with conditions so set

is proportionate to the objective of securing that the services in the list

of must-carry services, and the other services to which conditions set in

40

accordance with this section are likely to applied by virtue of

subsection (4), are available for reception by as many members of the

public in the United Kingdom as practicable.

     (11)   The Secretary of State may also, if (whether on such a review or in any other

circumstances) he considers it appropriate to do so, by order make provision

45

imposing requirements as to what, as between—

           (a)           the person providing a must-carry service, and

           (b)           the person providing a network by means of which it is to be provided,

 

 

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

    65

 

            are to be the terms on which the service is to be broadcast or otherwise

transmitted, in pursuance of general conditions set in accordance with this

section, by means of that network.

     (12)   An order under subsection (11) may provide for the terms to be determined by

OFCOM in accordance with the provisions of the order.

5

     (13)   Before making an order under subsection (5), and before making an order

under subsection (11) in a case in which there has been no review under

subsection (7), the Secretary of State must consult—

           (a)           OFCOM, and

           (b)           such persons who, in his opinion, are likely to be affected by the order,

10

or who represent any of those persons, as he thinks fit.

     (14)   Section 359 applies for construing this section as it applies for the purposes of

Part 3.

Universal service conditions

 63    Obligations to be secured by universal service conditions

15

     (1)    The Secretary of State must by order (“the universal service order”) set out the

extent to which the things falling within subsection (2) must, for the purpose

of securing compliance with Community obligations for the time being in

force, be provided, made available or supplied throughout the United

Kingdom.

20

     (2)    Those things are—

           (a)           electronic communications networks and electronic communications

services;

           (b)           facilities capable of being made available as part of or in connection

with an electronic communications service;

25

           (c)                         particular methods of billing for electronic communications services or

of accepting payment for them;

           (d)           directories capable of being used in connection with the use of an

electronic communications network or electronic communications

service; and

30

           (e)           directory enquiry facilities capable of being used for purposes

connected with the use of such a network or service.

     (3)    The universal service order may contain guidance about matters relating to the

pricing of things that the order says must be provided, made available or

supplied.

35

     (4)    Before making or varying the universal service order, the Secretary of State

must consult OFCOM and such other persons as he considers appropriate.

 64    Designation of universal service providers

     (1)    OFCOM may by regulations make provision for the designation of the persons

to whom universal service conditions are to be applicable.

40

     (2)    Subject to subsection (3), those regulations are not to authorise the designation

of a person other than a communications provider.

 

 

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

    66

 

     (3)    The regulations may provide for a person other than a communications

provider to be designated for the purposes only of conditions relating to—

           (a)           the supply of directories capable of being used in connection with the

use of an electronic communications network or electronic

communications service; and

5

           (b)           the making available of directory enquiry facilities capable of being

used for purposes connected with the use of such a network or service.

     (4)    OFCOM may from time to time—

           (a)           review the designations for the time being in force in accordance with

regulations under this section; and

10

           (b)           on such a review, consider what (if any) universal service conditions

should continue to apply to each of the designated persons.

     (5)    The procedure to be followed in the case of every such review must be the

procedure provided for in regulations made by OFCOM.

     (6)    Regulations made by OFCOM under this section must provide for a person’s

15

designation as a person to whom universal service conditions are to be

applicable to cease to have effect where, in any such case as may be described

in the regulations, the universal service conditions applied to him are all

revoked.

     (7)    Regulations made by OFCOM under this section providing a procedure for the

20

designation of persons, or for the conduct of a review under subsection (4),

must not provide for any procedure other than one appearing to OFCOM—

           (a)           to be efficient, objective and transparent; and

           (b)           not to involve, or to tend to give rise to, any undue discrimination

against any person or description of persons.

25

     (8)    Where—

           (a)           OFCOM designate a person in accordance with regulations under this

section, or

           (b)           a designation of a person in accordance with any such regulations

ceases to have effect,

30

            they must give a notification of that designation, or of that fact, to the European

Commission.

     (9)    A notification under this section must identify the person who has been

designated, or the person whose designation has ceased to have effect.

     (10)   Section 400 applies to the power of OFCOM to make regulations under this

35

section.

 65    Subject-matter of universal service conditions

     (1)    OFCOM may set any such universal service conditions as they consider

appropriate for securing compliance with the obligations set out in the

universal service order.

40

     (2)    Universal service conditions applied to a person must include a condition

requiring him to publish information about his performance in complying with

the universal service conditions that apply to him.

     (3)    A condition set in accordance with subsection (2) must contain provision

which—

45

 

 

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

    67

 

           (a)           requires information published in accordance with it to be updated

from time to time and published again;

           (b)           requires information so published to satisfy the requirements that

OFCOM consider appropriate for securing that it is adequate; and

           (c)           requires information so published to be framed by reference to the

5

quality of service parameters, definitions and measurement methods

for the time being set out in Annex III to the Universal Service Directive.

     (4)    A condition set in accordance with that subsection may impose requirements

as to—

           (a)           the times at which information published in accordance with it is to be

10

published; and

           (b)           the manner in which that information is to be published.

     (5)    Universal service conditions may impose an obligation on a person to whom

they apply to do one or both of the following, if required to do so by OFCOM—

           (a)           to make facilities available for enabling information published in

15

pursuance of a condition applied to that person under subsection (2) to

be independently audited;

           (b)           to meet the costs of any independent auditing of that information that

is required by OFCOM.

     (6)    The reference in subsection (5) to the independent auditing of information is a

20

reference to its being audited by a qualified auditor—

           (a)           for accuracy; and

           (b)           for its usefulness in the making of comparisons with information

published by other designated universal service providers.

     (7)    Universal service conditions may impose performance targets on designated

25

universal service providers with respect to any of the matters in relation to

which obligations may be imposed by such conditions.

     (8)    In setting a universal service condition, OFCOM must have regard to any

guidance about matters relating to pricing that is contained in the universal

service order.

30

     (9)    In this section “qualified auditor” means a person eligible, in accordance with

Part 2 of the Companies Act 1989 (c. 40), for appointment as a company

auditor.

 66    Tariffs etc. for universal services

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM—

35

           (a)           to keep under review universal service tariffs; and

           (b)           to monitor changes to those tariffs.

     (2)    Universal service conditions may require one or more of the following—

           (a)           the use of a common tariff, or of common tariffs, in relation to anything

mentioned in section 63(2);

40

           (b)           the use, in such cases as may be specified or described in the conditions,

of such special tariffs in relation to anything so mentioned as may be so

specified or described;

           (c)           the fixing of tariffs used in accordance with the conditions by the use of

such methods, and by reference to such methods of computing costs, as

45

may be so specified or described.

 

 

 
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 3 July 2003