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Communications Act 2003

Section 45: Power of OFCOM to set conditions

113.Under the regulatory framework provided for in Part 2, any person to whom OFCOM applies a condition under section 46 must comply with that condition. Section 45 gives OFCOM the power to set two categories of conditions – general conditions and specific conditions, the latter comprising universal service conditions, access-related conditions, privileged supplier conditions or significant market power (SMP) conditions. Subsection (10)(e) provides that the power to set conditions includes the power to revoke or modify conditions.

114.General conditions are conditions of general application and must be set in accordance with sections 51, 52, 57, 58 or 64. The ability to set such conditions implements Article 6(1) of, and partially implements Part A of the Annex to, the Authorisation Directive. It also implements Article 4(1) and 4(3) of the Access Directive.

115.Universal service conditions are conditions authorised or required under section 67 for the purpose of ensuring that certain minimum electronic communications networks and services and associated facilities are available at all times throughout the UK. The ability to set such conditions implements Article 6(2) of the Authorisation Directive and Articles 3 to 7 and 9 to 11 and Part A of Annex I to of the Universal Service Directive.

116.Access-related conditions are conditions authorised under section 73 for the purpose of ensuring adequate network access within communications infrastructure. The ability to set such conditions implements Article 6(2) of the Authorisation Directive and Articles 5(1) and (2) and 6 of the Access Directive.

  • *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.

117.Privileged supplier conditions can be applied where a communications provider enjoys special or exclusive rights in relation to the provision of any non-communications services. They are intended to ensure the separation of the provider’s activities as a communications provider from other aspects of his undertaking, and must comply with section 77. The ability to set such conditions implements Article 13 of the Framework Directive.

118.SMP conditions may be either an SMP services condition authorised or required under sections 87 to 92 or an SMP apparatus condition authorised under section 93. The ability to set SMP services conditions implements Article 6(2) of the Authorisation Directive, Articles 8 to 13 of the Access Directive, Article 16(2) of the Framework Directive and Articles 17 to 19 of the Universal Service Directive. SMP apparatus conditions are out with the scope of the EC Communications Directives because the supply of apparatus is not part of the provision of an electronic communications network or service. The power to set such conditions is therefore additional to the requirements of the Directives.

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