Digital Economy Act 2017

Publication Date:January 01, 2017
 
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Digital Economy Act 2017

2017 Chapter 30

An Act to make provision about electronic communications infrastructure and services; to provide for restricting access to online pornography; to make provision about protection of intellectual property in connection with electronic communications; to make provision about data-sharing; to make provision in connection with section 68 of the Telecommunications Act 1984; to make provision about functions of OFCOM in relation to the BBC; to provide for determination by the BBC of age-related TV licence fee concessions; to make provision about the regulation of direct marketing; to make other provision about OFCOM and its functions; to make provision about internet filters; to make provision about preventing or restricting the use of communication devices in connection with drug dealing offences; to confer power to create an offence of breaching limits on ticket sales; to make provision about the payment of charges to the Information Commissioner; to make provision about payment systems and securities settlement systems; to make provision about qualifications in information technology; and for connected purposes.

[27 April 2017]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Access to digital services

PART 1

Access to digital services

S-1 Universal service broadband obligations

1 Universal service broadband obligations

(1) The Communications Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(2) Section 65 (obligations to be secured by universal service conditions) is amended as follows.

(3) In subsection (1) omit “(“the universal service order”)”.

(4) After subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) The provision made under subsection (1) is referred to as “the universal service order”.

(2B) The universal service order may in particular say that broadband connections and services must be provided to any extent, but may not do so unless—(a) it specifies the minimum download speed that must be provided by those connections and services, and(b) the speed so specified is at least 10 megabits per second.

(2C) The universal service order may contain—(a) guidance about matters relating to the speed or other characteristics of broadband connections or services that it says must be provided (as well as or, except in the case of the minimum download speed, instead of setting out any of those characteristics); and(b) guidance about any other matters relating to those connections or services.”

(5) In section 66 (designation of universal service provider) after subsection (9) insert—

“(9A) In making any regulations under this section, OFCOM must have regard to any guidance that is contained in the universal service order.”

(6) In section 67(8) (universal service conditions: duty to have regard to guidance) omit “about matters relating to pricing”.

(7) After section 72 (before the heading “Access-related conditions”) insert—

“ 72A. Review of universal service order(1) The Secretary of State may direct OFCOM to review and report to the Secretary of State on any provision made, or that may be made, by the universal service order in relation to broadband connections or services.(2) The Secretary of State must consult OFCOM before giving a direction under this section.(3) The Secretary of State must publish a direction under this section.(4) OFCOM must publish the report made by them to the Secretary of State of a review under this section.

72B. Broadband download speeds: duty to give direction under section 72A(1) The Secretary of State must give OFCOM a direction under section 72A if—(a) the universal service order specifies a minimum download speed for broadband connections and services and the speed so specified is less than 30 megabits per second, and(b) it appears to the Secretary of State, on the basis of information published by OFCOM, that broadband connections or services that provide a minimum download speed of at least 30 megabits per second are subscribed to for use in at least 75% of premises in the United Kingdom.(2) The direction—(a) must require OFCOM to review and report to the Secretary of State on whether it would be appropriate for the universal service order to specify a higher minimum download speed, and(b) may also require OFCOM to review and report to the Secretary of State on any other matter falling within section 72A(1).”

(8) In section 135(3)(f) (power of OFCOM to require information for purposes of reviews) for “or 70” substitute “, 70 or 72A”.

S-2 General conditions: switching communications provider

2 General conditions: switching communications provider

(1) Section 51(2) of the Communications Act 2003 (conditions which may be set for protecting interests of end-users) is amended as follows.

(2) Omit “and” after paragraph (g).

(3) After paragraph (h) insert—

“(i) specify requirements in relation to arrangements that enable an end-user to change communications provider on request.”

S-3 Automatic compensation for failure to meet performance standards

3 Automatic compensation for failure to meet performance standards

In section 51(2) of the Communications Act 2003 (conditions which may be set for protecting interests of end-users), after paragraph (d) insert—

“(da) require a communications provider to pay compensation to an end-user on failing to meet a specified standard or obligation;”.

2 Digital infrastructure

PART 2

Digital infrastructure

Electronic communications code

Electronic communications code

S-4 The electronic communications code

4 The electronic communications code

(1) In the Telecommunications Act 1984 omit Schedule 2 (the telecommunications code).

(2) Before Schedule 4 to the Communications Act 2003 insert Schedule 3A set out in Schedule 1 to this Act.

(3) Section 106 of the Communications Act 2003 (application of the electronic communications code) is amended as follows.

(4) In subsection (1) for “the code set out in Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act 1984 (c 12)” substitute “the code set out in Schedule 3A”.

(5) Omit subsection (2).

(6) In subsection (4)(b) for “conduits” substitute “infrastructure”.

(7) In subsection (5)(c) for “conduit system” in each place substitute “system of infrastructure”.

(8) In subsection (6) for “16(3)” substitute “85(7)”.

(9) Omit subsection (7).

(10) Schedules 2 (transitional provisions) and 3 (consequential amendments) have effect.

S-5 Power to make transitional provision in connection with the code

5 Power to make transitional provision in connection with the code

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument make transitional, transitory or saving provision in connection with the coming into force of section 4 and Schedule 1.

(2) Regulations under this section may amend Schedule 2.

(3) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section—

(a)

if it includes provision made by virtue of subsection (2), may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament;

(b)

otherwise, is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

S-6 Power to make consequential provision etc in connection with the code

6 Power to make consequential provision etc in connection with the code

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make consequential provision in connection with any provision made by or under section 4 or this section or Schedule 1 or 3.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may amend, repeal, revoke or otherwise modify the application of any enactment (but, in the case of primary legislation, only if the primary legislation was passed or made before the end of the Session in which this Act is passed).

(3) Regulations under this section—

(a)

are to be made by statutory instrument;

(b)

may make different provision for different purposes;

(c)

may include incidental, supplementary, consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision.

(4) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section (whether alone or with other provisions) which amend, repeal or modify the application of primary legislation may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) Any other statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(6) In this section—

“enactment” includes—(a) an enactment comprised in subordinate legislation within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978,(b) an enactment comprised in, or in an instrument made under, a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales,(c) an enactment comprised in, or in an instrument made under, an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and(d) an enactment comprised in, or in an instrument made under, Northern Ireland legislation;

“primary legislation” means—(a) an Act of Parliament,(b) a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales,(c) an Act of the Scottish Parliament, or(d) Northern Ireland legislation.

S-7 Application of the code: protection of the environment

7 Application of the code: protection of the environment

For section 109(2A) of the Communications Act 2003 (under which regulations that set restrictions and conditions to the application of the electronic communications code are deemed by subsection (2B) to comply with duties under National Parks and other legislation if they comply with the duty to have...

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