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Communications Act 2003

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

General functions relating to spectrum use

152General functions of OFCOM in relation to radio spectrum

(1)It shall be a function of OFCOM—

(a)to give such advice in relation to the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy,

(b)to provide such other services, and

(c)to maintain such records,

as they consider appropriate for the purpose of facilitating or managing the use of that spectrum for wireless telegraphy.

(2)It shall be a function of OFCOM, in relation to the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy—

(a)to give such further advice,

(b)to provide such other services, and

(c)to maintain such other records,

as the Secretary of State may, for the purpose of securing compliance with the international obligations of the United Kingdom, require them to provide.

(3)The advice, the other services and the records that OFCOM may give, provide or maintain under this section include advice, other services and records with respect to the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum at places outside the United Kingdom.

(4)The powers of OFCOM to carry out research, or to arrange for others to carry out research, are to be exercisable, in particular, for ascertaining, for the purpose of carrying out their functions under this section, information about—

(a)the demands for use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy in the United Kingdom;

(b)the effects, in the United Kingdom, of any such use of that spectrum;

(c)likely future developments in relation to those matters; and

(d)any other connected matters that OFCOM think relevant.

(5)OFCOM may make a grant to any person if, in their opinion, the making of the grant is likely to promote—

(a)the efficient use in the United Kingdom of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy; or

(b)the efficient management of that use.

(6)A grant—

(a)may be made to a person holding a wireless telegraphy licence or a grant of recognised spectrum access under section 159 or to any other person; and

(b)is to be made on such terms and conditions as OFCOM consider appropriate;

and those terms and conditions may include terms requiring the repayment of the grant in specified circumstances.

(7)The consent of the Treasury is to be required—

(a)for the making of a grant under subsection (5); and

(b)for the terms and conditions on which such a grant is made.

(8)Where OFCOM are required to give advice or provide another service to a person under this section, they are to be entitled to make the giving of the advice or the provision of the other service conditional on the payment to them of such sums—

(a)as they may determine in advance; or

(b)as may be agreed between them and that person.

(9)In this section references to providing a service to a person include references to a service consisting in—

(a)the entry of that person’s particulars in a register or other record kept by OFCOM for the purpose of carrying out their functions under this section; or

(b)the taking of steps for the purposes of determining whether to grant an application for an entry in a register or record so kept.

153United Kingdom Plan for Frequency Authorisation

(1)It shall be the duty of OFCOM, from time to time as they think fit, to publish a document (to be known as “the United Kingdom Plan for Frequency Authorisation”).

(2)The plan must set out—

(a)the frequencies that, in relation to the United Kingdom, have been allocated for particular purposes for wireless telegraphy and are available for assignment; and

(b)the purposes for which the different frequencies have been allocated.

154Duties of OFCOM when carrying out spectrum functions

(1)It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in carrying out their functions under the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum, to have regard, in particular, to—

(a)the extent to which the electro-magnetic spectrum is available for use, or further use, for wireless telegraphy;

(b)the demand for use of that spectrum for wireless telegraphy; and

(c)the demand that is likely to arise in future for the use of that spectrum for wireless telegraphy.

(2)It shall also be their duty, in carrying out their functions under those enactments to have regard, in particular, to the desirability of promoting—

(a)the efficient management and use of the part of the electro-magnetic spectrum available for wireless telegraphy;

(b)the economic and other benefits that may arise from the use of wireless telegraphy;

(c)the development of innovative services; and

(d)competition in the provision of electronic communications services.

(3)In the application of this section to the functions of OFCOM under the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum other than section 2 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 (c. 6) (exercise of power to prescribe wireless telegraphy licence fees), OFCOM may disregard such of the matters mentioned in the preceding subsections as appear to them—

(a)to be matters to which they are not required to have regard apart from this section; and

(b)to have no application to the case in question.

(4)Where it appears to OFCOM that any of their duties under this section conflict with one or more of their duties under sections 3 to 6, priority must be given to their duties under those sections.

(5)Where it appears to OFCOM that any of their duties under this section conflict with each other in a particular case, they must secure that the conflict is resolved in the manner they think best in the circumstances.

155Advisory service in relation to interference

(1)It shall be a function of OFCOM to provide a service consisting in the giving of advice and assistance to persons complaining of interference with wireless telegraphy.

(2)In this section “interference”, in relation to wireless telegraphy, has the same meaning as in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (c. 54).

156Directions with respect to the radio spectrum

(1)The Secretary of State may by order give general or specific directions to OFCOM about the carrying out by OFCOM of their functions under the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum.

(2)The directions that may be given under this section include a direction requiring OFCOM to secure that such frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum as may be specified in the direction are kept available or become available—

(a)for such uses or descriptions of uses, or

(b)for such users or descriptions of users,

as may be so specified.

(3)The directions that may be given under this section include a direction requiring OFCOM to exercise their powers under the provisions mentioned in subsection (4)—

(a)in such cases,

(b)in such manner,

(c)subject to such restrictions and constraints, and

(d)with a view to achieving such purposes,

as may be specified in the direction or as may be determined by the Secretary of State in accordance with the order.

(4)Those provisions are—

(a)the proviso to section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (exemptions from requirement of wireless telegraphy licence); and

(b)sections 1 to 3A of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 (c. 6) (payments in respect of wireless telegraphy licences and grants of recognised spectrum access).

(5)This section is not to be construed as restricting the power of the Secretary of State under section 5, without the making of an order, to give a direction for any of the purposes for the time being specified in subsection (3) of that section.

157Procedure for directions under s. 156

(1)An order containing a direction under section 156, if it is not one falling within subsection (2) or (3) of that section, must state the purpose for which the direction is given.

(2)Before making an order containing a direction under section 156, the Secretary of State must consult both—

(a)OFCOM; and

(b)such other persons as he thinks fit.

(3)Subsection (2) does not apply where the Secretary of State considers that the urgency of the case makes it inexpedient to carry out the consultation before making the order.

(4)Subject to subsection (5), no order is to be made containing provision authorised by section 156 unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.

(5)Subsection (4) does not apply where the Secretary of State considers either—

(a)before or in the course of the consultation required by subsection (2); or

(b)after the consultation and before or after a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament,

that the urgency of the case is or has become such that he should make the order straight away.

(6)Where under subsection (5) the Secretary of State makes an order containing a direction under section 156 without a draft of the order having been approved, the order shall cease to have effect at the end of the period of forty days beginning with the day on which it was made unless, before the end of that period, it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(7)For the purposes of subsection (6)—

(a)the order’s ceasing to have effect is without prejudice to anything previously done, or to the making of a new order; and

(b)in reckoning the period of forty days no account shall be taken of any period during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.

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