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Communications Act 2003

Section 156: Directions with respect to the radio spectrum

357.This section gives the Secretary of State a power, by order, to give general or specific directions to OFCOM about the carrying out of their spectrum functions. They may include a direction (i) to reserve certain frequencies for different classes of use, for example broadcasting, mobile telecommunications, private business systems, air traffic control or radio astronomy, or within a class, for example for the provision of additional digital television services or radio broadcasting multiplexes; or (ii) to exercise their powers under the proviso to section 1(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 and under sections 1, 3 and 3A of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 in accordance with the provisions of the direction. This power is in addition to the power conferred on the Secretary of State by section 5 to give directions for limited purposes in accordance with which OFCOM must exercise their functions.

  • *The proviso to section 1(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 allows classes or descriptions of wireless telegraphy stations or apparatus to be exempted from licensing requirements by regulations made by the Secretary of State (such regulations will be made by OFCOM when the relevant provisions of the Act come into force).  Section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 (as amended by section 161) allows the Secretary of State to make regulations setting the fees to be paid on the issue and renewal of wireless telegraphy licences and grants of recognised spectrum access, and is subject to section 2 of that Act (which, as substituted by paragraph 147 of Schedule 17 to the Act, allows the Secretary of State to charge licence fees above the cost of exercising wireless telegraphy functions (“administrative incentive pricing”)).  Section 3 of the 1998 Act allows the Secretary of State to make regulations providing for wireless telegraphy licences to be awarded by means of spectrum auctions.   Finally, section 3A of the 1998 Act is introduced by section 161. The regulations provided for in sections 1 to 3A of the 1998 Act will be made by OFCOM when the relevant provisions of the Act come into force.

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