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Communications Act 2003

Schedule 17:  Minor and Consequential Amendments

925.Schedule 17 sets out minor amendments to other legislation and amendments to other legislation that are consequential upon the Act. Paragraph 1 of the Schedule sets out the definitions that apply for the purposes of any Act or instrument amended by the Schedule.

926.The majority of these amendments involve changes to terms contained in other legislation that is used in relation to the current telecommunications licensing regime and that is to be replaced by the Communications Act, to ensure, as far as possible, that the current term is replaced with an equivalent term for the purposes of the new regulatory regime. A number of these amendments are of a similar nature and include, for example, amendments to legislation such as the Opencast Coal Act 1958 and the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 to replace references to the telecommunications code and telecommunications apparatus with references to the electronic communications code and electronic communications apparatus. The amendments also include amendments to disclosure of information provisions in various legislation (for example, the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and the Water Industry Act 1991), to provide an exemption from the general restriction on the disclosure of information in respect of OFCOM and the Communications Act.

927.In addition, this Schedule sets out a number of minor and consequential amendments to the enactments relating to radio spectrum management. These include the amendment of section 1D of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 which is dealt with in more detail in the notes to section 169 and amendments requiring the Secretary of State’s approval for orders and regulations made by OFCOM. For example, paragraphs 9(3) and 11(4) amend those sections of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 which provide for regulations as to wireless telegraphy and regulations as to radiation of electro-magnetic energy, in order to require the Secretary of State’s approval of any such regulations that are made by OFCOM. Similarly, paragraph 37(5) requires the approval of the Secretary of State for the making by OFCOM of any order under section 7 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967, which places restrictions on dealing in, and custody of, certain apparatus. Paragraph 73 requires the approval of the Secretary of State for the making by OFCOM of any order under section 85 or 86 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 about information to be marked on or to accompany wireless telegraphy apparatus or to be given in advertisements for such apparatus.

928.Schedule 17 also contains minor and consequential amendments with respect to broadcasting. These mainly reflect the changes to the regulatory structure so as to replace references to the existing regulators with references to OFCOM.

929.The Welsh Development Agency Act 1975, section 19(1), which relates to the Agency and the media, is amended (by paragraph 50) so that references to "the appropriate authority" are replaced by a reference to OFCOM, and at subsection (11), the references to the Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority are replaced by a reference to OFCOM. Similarly, references to the Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority in section 92 and 93 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, which relate to broadcasting from outside the United Kingdom and broadcasting of local items during election periods are replaced by references to OFCOM (see paragraph 63).

930.The Cinemas Act 1985 contains provisions, including a licensing regime, concerning premises which are used for "film exhibitions". The definition of "film exhibition" at section 21(1) is amended so that a film exhibition means any exhibition of moving pictures other than an exhibition of items included in a programme service within the meaning of Part 3 of the Communications Act that is being simultaneously received (or virtually so) by the exhibitor (see paragraph 76). The effect of the amendment is to ensure that cinemas which exhibit films transmitted to them via cable or satellite from a central source will not require licensing under the Communications Act; however films exhibited in such a way will continue to be covered by the licensing provisions of the 1985 Act.

931.Various amendments have been made to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 so as to bring these in line with the regulatory changes made under the Communications Act (see paragraph 91). In particular, these ensure that copyright is not infringed by the use by OFCOM in connection with the performance of their functions of material provided to them; or of any existing material which is transferred to them by a scheme made under section 30 of the Communications Act.

932.In section 33 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994, which relates to refunds of VAT in certain cases, the reference to the Channel 3 nominated news provider is replaced by a reference to the Channel 3 appointed news provider, to reflect changes made by the Act (see paragraph 129).

933.Schedule 9 to the Transport Act 2000, which contains disclosure of information provisions, has been amended so as to substitute OFCOM for the Independent Television Commission and so as to add the Broadcasting Act 1996 and the Communications Act to the list of specified enactments covered by those disclosure provisions (see paragraph 166).

934.The provisions relating to party political broadcasts and referendum campaign broadcasts contained in section 11 of and paragraph 4(6) of Schedule 12 to the Political Parties, Election and Referendums Act 2000 have been amended so as to remove the references in that section to Sianel Pedwar Cymru (paragraph 167). The effect is now that those provisions provide that the BBC shall have regard to the Electoral Commission's views when determining its policy with respect to party political broadcasts and referendum campaign broadcasts. The corresponding duty with respect to the Welsh Authority is now contained in Schedule 12 to the Communications Act.

935.The Schedule also includes minor amendments to the Office of Communications Act 2002 (paragraphs 171 and 172). Paragraph 8(1) of the Schedule to the OFCOM Act is amended to require OFCOM to conduct their affairs so as to secure that revenues from fees and charges which do not fall to be paid to the Consolidated Fund are at least sufficient to enable OFCOM to meet the cost of carrying out the functions to which they relate.

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