§ Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why no criteria are given in Schedules 2, 9 and 10 to the Wireless Telegraphy (Limitation of Number of Licences) Order 2030 (S.I. 2003/1902). [HL4938]
§ Lord Sainsbury of Turville
The Wireless Telegraphy (Limitation of Number of Licences) Order 2003 was made under powers conferred by Section 164 of the Communications Act 2003. The order and the Act came into force on 25 July.43WA
Section 164 of the Act permits the order to specify the frequencies and uses for which Ofcom will grant or make only a limited number of licences. The order must set out the criteria which Ofcom will apply in determining the limit and the persons to whom licences will be granted. (The order was made by the Secretary of State rather than Ofcom for the reasons given in the Explanatory Note to the order.)
The order does not set out a maximum number of licences available for frequencies and uses. This was not a requirement of Section 164. Further, the Secretary of State does not limit the availability of licences in that way. What happens is that factors such as technical frequency assignment criteria and criteria relating to persons who may be awarded licences operate to determine the limit on the number of licences granted and the persons to whom they are granted.
Schedule 2 to the order concerns the class of licences for broadband fixed wireless access at 28 GHz. Licences are only awarded to persons by a competition (as indicated in part 2 of the schedule). The fact that licences are awarded in this way is a factor which inevitably limits the number of licences which are available at any given time and the persons to whom they are awarded. The ability of applicants to meet the terms of licences will also be a factor limiting the numbers of licences (as described in Article 4(c) of the order). There are no further specific criteria limiting numbers so "none" was inserted in part 3 of the Schedule.
Schedule 9 concerns the class of licence for amateur radio at a range of frequencies. Part 2 of the schedule sets out the criteria relating to persons to whom licences are awarded. Those criteria, together with the ability of applicants to meet the terms of licences, are the only factors limiting the numbers of licences. Amateurs who fulfil the criteria specified in part 2 of the schedule may all share use of the same spectrum. There were no further specific criteria limiting numbers so "none" was inserted in part 3 of the schedule.
Schedule 10 concerns the class of technology development radio licences, which may be at any frequency approved case by case where no undue interference results to other authorised services. Criteria for this class were in fact specified in both parts 2 and 3 of schedule 10.