Search Legislation

Communications Act 2003

Section 32: Meaning of electronic communications networks and services

86.This section sets out the meanings of the three key concepts – ‘electronic communications network’, ‘electronic communications service’, and ‘associated facility’ - that are referred to throughout this Part.

87.This section implements Article 2(a), (c), (e) and (m) of the Framework Directive.

  • *electronic communications network is defined in subsection (1) as a transmission system for the conveyance, by the use of electrical, magnetic or electro-magnetic energy of signals of any description, and associated apparatus, software and stored data.  Examples of such networks include satellite networks, fixed networks (whether circuit- or packet-switched, and including the Internet) and mobile terrestrial networks and networks used for radio and television broadcasting, including cable TV networks.

  • *electronic communications service is defined in subsection (2) as a service consisting, or having as its principal feature, the conveyance, by means of an electronic communications network, of signals except in so far as it is a content service.  Examples of such services include telecommunications services and transmission services in networks used for broadcasting.

  • *associated  facility is defined in subsection (3) as a facility which is available for use in association with an electronic communications network or service in order to make the provision of that network or service (or other services) possible, or to support the provision of other services.  Examples of such facilities include conditional access systems and electronic programme guides.

  • *content service is defined in subsection (7) as so much of a service as consists in (i) the provision of material with a view to it being comprised in signals conveyed over an electronic communications network, or (ii) the exercise of editorial control over the contents of signals conveyed by means of such a network.

  • *a signal is defined in subsection (10) as including anything consisting of speech, music, sounds, visual images and communications or data of any description, and  signals serving for the impartation of anything or for actuating or controlling any apparatus.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources