Topic 5: Independent television services
Section 24: Determination of Channel 3 licence areas
118.Section 14(2) of the 1990 Act requires OFCOM to structure the Channel 3 licence map on a regional basis. However, section 14(7) of the 1990 Act provides a caveat preventing OFCOM from constructing a licence area from either the whole of England or the whole of Scotland.
119.This section repeals section 14(7) of the 1990 Act to remove that restriction. At the same time, it inserts new section 14(7A), which provides that there must always be at least one licence area wholly contained within Scotland. Section 287 of the 2003 Act will still allow OFCOM to insert conditions in a licence to require the holder of a nationwide licence to provide regional programmes.
120.This section also inserts a new section 216A in the 2003 Act, allowing OFCOM to renew Channel 3 licences for a larger or smaller area than the area to which they relate before renewal. However, this power can only be exercised with the consent of the existing licence holders for the areas concerned.
121.As a consequence of new section 216A, the section amends section 216 to give OFCOM the power not to renew a licence if the area to which it relates is or will be covered entirely by another Channel 3 licence or licences which OFCOM have renewed or propose to renew.