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Communications Act 2003

Section 4: Duties for the purpose of fulfilling Community obligations

31.This section creates a duty, which applies only to certain functions of OFCOM. These are their functions under:

  • Chapter 1 of Part 2;

  • the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum;

    *Section 405(1) defines the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum as the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967, Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998, Chapter 2 of Part 2 of the Act and the other provisions of the Act so far as relating to any of those enactments.

  • Chapter 3 of Part 2 relating to network access disputes referred to them under section 185;

  • sections 24 and 25, so far as they relate to information required for purposes connected with matters in relation to OFCOM functions specified in this section; and

  • section 26, if carried out for the purpose of making information available to the customers of communications providers, the customers of persons who make associated facilities available and persons who use electronic communications networks, electronic communications services or associated facilities.

32.The duty is a duty to act in accordance with six Community requirements. In the event that there is any conflict between this duty and the section 3 duties, the former, which is required by the EC Communications Directives, is to take precedence.

33.The Community requirements are: (i) to promote competition; (ii) to ensure that OFCOM’s activities contribute to the development of the European internal market; (iii) to promote the interests of all persons who are citizens of the European Union; (iv) to take account of the desirability of carrying our their functions in a manner which, so far as practicable, does not favour one form of network, service or associated facility, or one means of providing or making available such a network, service or facility over another; (v) to encourage the provision of network access and service interoperability; and (vi) to encourage compliance with international standards to the extent necessary to facilitate service interoperability, and to secure a freedom of choice for customers.

  • *network access is defined in section 151 as meaning (1) interconnection of public electronic communications networks; or (2) any services, facilities or arrangements (other than interconnection) by means of which a communications provider or a person making associated facilities available is able, for the purposes of the provision of an electronic communications service (whether by him or by another), to make use of any network or apparatus comprised in a network, or any service or facility capable of being used to provide a service.

  • *service interoperability is defined in section 151 as interoperability between different electronic communications services.

34.Requirements (i) to (iv) implement Articles 7(1) & (2) and 8 of Directive 2002/21/EC (the “Framework Directive”). Requirement (v) implements Article 5(1) of Directive 2002/19/EC (“the Access Directive”) and Article 18 of the Framework Directive and requirement (vi) implements Article 17(2) and 18 of the Framework Directive. This section also implements Article 20 (3) of the Framework Directive and Article 7(3) of the Authorisation Directive.

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