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Communications Act 2003

Section 106: Application of the electronic communications code

254.Sections 106 to 119 and Schedule 3 amend the telecommunications code (set out in Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act 1984) in order to translate it into a code applicable to apparatus used in electronic communications networks and services. The telecommunications code is designed to facilitate the installation and maintenance of telecommunications systems. It confers rights on operators to install and maintain apparatus in, over or under land and results in considerably simplified planning procedures, similar to those given to other utilities. These provisions, along with Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act 1984, implement Articles 11 and 12(1) of the Framework Directive, and Article 4(1) and 6(1) of, and condition 5 of Part A of the Annex to, the Authorisation Directive.

255.Sections 106 to 119 provide that “the electronic communications code” (as it will in the future be known) will no longer be applied to operators by way of licences (and licence conditions), but rather as a result of directions given by OFCOM in response to applications by individual providers of electronic communications networks or systems of conduits to be used for the provision of electronic communications networks. The principal changes to the code which will be effected under Schedule 3 include the replacement of references in it to telecommunications apparatus, services and systems with references to electronic communications apparatus, services and networks respectively; amendments to enable the application of the code to persons who provide a system of conduits by which an electronic communications network may be provided, but do not actually provide the network; and the addition of a provision to encourage the sharing of apparatus by operators to whom the code applies (which was previously contained in sections 10(3A), (3B) and (3C) of the Telecommunications Act 1984 and section 189 of the Broadcasting Act 1990; now see new paragraph 29 of the code).

256.Section 106 provides that the electronic communications code will apply to any person in respect of whom OFCOM have given a direction for this purpose. Subsection (5) provides that such a direction may specify that the code is to apply to the person concerned only in relation to particular places, or particular networks or parts of networks or particular conduit systems or parts of conduit systems.

257.Subsection (3)(b) provides that the electronic communications code will also apply to the Secretary of State or any Northern Ireland department if either of them is providing or intends to provide an electronic communications network.

258.Subsection (4) provides that the code may only be applied to a person for the purposes of the provision of an electronic communications network or for the purposes of the provision of a system of conduits to be used in connection with the provision of an electronic communications network.

259.Paragraph 17 of Schedule 18 provides that where, immediately before the coming into force of this section, the code applied to any person by virtue of the conditions of his telecommunications licence, that person shall be treated, after the coming into force of this section, as a person in whose case the code applies by virtue of a direction given by OFCOM.

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