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Communications Act 2003

Section 51: Matters to which general conditions may relate

141.Sections 51 to 64 set out the scope of OFCOM’s power to set general conditions, and the procedural provisions applicable for that purpose.

142.Section 51 provides that, subject to sections 52 to 64, OFCOM may set general conditions only in relation to matters that are listed in subsection (1). The matters listed in subsection (1) include protection of end-users of public electronic communications services; network access and interoperability of services; protection of the integrity of public electronic communications networks and services; prevention (in accordance with European Community obligations) of interference with networks and services; provision for financial contributions towards the cost of universal service; provision of networks and services in the event of disaster; protection of public health; and compliance with relevant international standards. Sections 52 to 64 relate to customer interests, the assignment and use of telephone numbers and must-carry obligations.

  • *public electronic communications service is defined in section 151 as an electronic communications service provided to the public.

  • *public electronic communications network is defined in section 151 as an electronic communications network provided principally for the purpose of making services available to the public.

  • *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.

  • *relevant international standards are defined in section 151 as meaning (1) any standards or specifications from time to time drawn up and published in accordance with Article 17 of the Framework Directive; (2) the standards and specifications adopted by the European Standards Organisations; and (3) the international standards and recommendations adopted by the International Telecommunications Union, the International Organisations for Standardisation or the International Electrotechnical Committee.

143.The subject matter set out in subsection (1) implements most of Part A of the Annex to the Authorisation Directive. For more detailed information see the Table in Appendix 2.

144.Subsection (3) provides that general conditions must be of general application. This means that the same general conditions must apply equally to all providers of the particular class of network or service to whom they are expressed to apply.

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