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Communications Act 2003

Section 159: Grant of recognised spectrum access

360.Sections 159 to 162 introduce a new scheme of grants of “recognised spectrum access”. Grants of recognised spectrum access (“RSA”) will be available, in circumstances to be specified by OFCOM in regulations, to persons who transmit radio signals for reception in the United Kingdom, but who are not, for whatever reason, required to hold a licence under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts. Possible examples include certain satellite services, radio astronomy and Crown users of spectrum.

361.Section 159 sets out the procedures that apply to the making by OFCOM of grants of recognised spectrum access. Subsection (3) allows OFCOM to specify, amongst other things, the frequencies used, reception coverage and strength and type of signal that are the subject of the grant. Subsection (5) allows OFCOM to make a grant of RSA subject to such restrictions and conditions as they think fit, for example as to strength and type of signal, times of use or sharing of frequencies.

362.Schedule 5 makes additional detailed provision about the procedure for the grant, modification and revocation of grants of RSA. OFCOM are to prescribe procedures for applications for a grant of RSA including requirements that must be fulfilled before, and restrictions and conditions subject to which, a grant will be made. Where an applicant fails to provide all the information reasonably required by OFCOM, their application may be refused. Any proposed refusal of an application must be notified to the applicant, stating the reasons and specifying the period (at least a month) within which the applicant may make representations about the proposed refusal. Similarly, if OFCOM propose to revoke or modify a grant or the restrictions or conditions to which it is subject, they must notify the person to whom the grant was made and give him the opportunity to make representations or, if applicable, to remedy a contravention of the restrictions or conditions of the grant.

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