S.1 A new regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services entered into force in the UK on 25 July 2003. The basis for the new framework is five new EU Communications Directives that are designed to create harmonised regulation across Europe. Four of these Directives have been implemented in the UK via the new Communications Act 2003 (ìthe Actî). The fifth was implemented on 31 October 2003.
S.2 The Act provides for functions, powers and duties to be carried out by Ofcom which include, inter alia, functions, powers and duties flowing from the four EC Communications Directives referred to above. Certain existing functions are also transferred to Ofcom.
S.3 The new Directives require National Regulatory Authorities (ìNRAsî), inter alia, to carry out reviews of competition in communications markets to ensure that regulation remains appropriate in the light of changing market conditions. For a limited period, while those reviews are conducted and until the new SMP conditions are imposed, some of the regulatory regime which existed before 25 July 2003 continues in force by virtue of Continuation Notices which have been made by Ofcomís predecessor, the Office of Telecommunications (ìOftelî). These continuation notices can be found on Ofcomís website at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/publications/eu_directives/cont_notices/in dex.htm. Previous consultations S.4 On 11 April 2003, Oftel published a national consultation document ent