Communications Act 2003 Explanatory Notes

Section 5: Directions in respect of networks or spectrum functions

35.This section gives the Secretary of State a power to give directions to OFCOM in respect of: (i) their functions relating to networks, services and the radio spectrum under Part 2 of the Act; and (ii) their functions relating to the management of the radio spectrum not contained in Part 2. Such directions may only be made for one or more of the purposes listed in subsection (3). Those purposes are: national security, relations with foreign countries, compliance with international obligations, public safety and public health.

36.The Secretary of State may not use her powers under this section to direct OFCOM to suspend any person’s entitlement to provide electronic communications networks or electronic communications services or to make available associated facilities. This can only be done by a direction given by the Secretary of State in accordance with the provisions of section 132. Section 132 gives the Secretary of State express power to direct OFCOM to suspend or restrict entitlement, where this appears to her to be necessary to protect the public from any threat to public safety or public health or in the interests of national security.

  • *associated facilities are defined in section 32.

37.The Secretary of State must publish a direction issued under this section unless publication is against the interests of national security or relations with foreign countries.

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