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Communications Act 2003

Section 65: Obligations to be secured by universal service conditions

175.Sections 65 to 72 describe OFCOM’s and the Secretary of State’s functions relating to universal service.

176.Sections 65 and 67 to 69 implement Articles 3 to 7 and 9 to 11 of, and Part A of Annex I to, the Universal Service Directive. Section 66 implements Article 8 of the Universal Service Directive and Articles 4(2) and 6(2) of the Authorisation Directive and sections 70 to 72 implement Articles 12 to 14 of the Universal Service Directive.

177.Under section 65 the Secretary of State is required by order (which may be varied at any time) (“the universal service order”) to set out the electronic communications networks, electronic communications services, associated facilities, directories and directory enquiry facilities, and particular methods of billing for services or of accepting payment for them that must be provided throughout the UK by universal service providers. Before making or varying the universal service order, the Secretary of State must consult OFCOM and other appropriate persons.

178.The objective behind “universal service” obligations is to ensure that the basic communications services which are used by the majority, and which are essential to full social and economic inclusion, are made available to everyone who reasonably requests them at an affordable price.

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