The electronic communications code (the Code) is set out in Schedule 3A of the Communications Act 2003. It is a set of rights that are designed to facilitate the installation and maintenance of electronic communications networks.
The Code confers rights on providers of such networks and on providers of systems of infrastructure to install and maintain apparatus on, under and over land and results in considerably simplified planning procedures.
The Code only has effect in the case of a person to whom it is applied by a direction given by Ofcom (or, in the case of the Secretary of State or any Northern Ireland department, where the Secretary of State or that department is providing or proposing to provide an electronic communications network).
The Code confers “code rights” on a person with Code powers. A code right is a right to:
In connection with these rights, the Code allows persons to whom the Code applies to:
Persons to whom the Code applies (Code operators) are subject to conditions and restrictions imposed by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 109 of the Communications Act 2003. These conditions and restrictions are set out in the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003/2533 as amended.
Ofcom is also responsible for maintaining a register of persons who have been granted Code powers.
Ofcom also has an enforcement role under s.110 of the Communications Act 2003 over compliance by Code operators with any requirement imposed by virtue of any restrictions or conditions under the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003 as amended.
Ofcom cannot provide advice on the Code. If you are in doubt as to your legal rights or obligations, we advise that you seek independent legal advice.
For queries on Code powers and to apply, contact Ofcom’s ECC Code Powers Team at ECCCodepowers@ofcom.org.uk.
With the amendment of the Code in 2017, section 106(4)(b) of the Communications Acts 2003 was changed to replace references to “conduit system” with “system of infrastructure”. Our application requirements are being amended to reflect the current Code framework.
Any application we receive will be an application for Code powers on the basis of the grounds for application under section 106 of the Communications Act 2003.
Ofcom charges an application fee and annual administrative charge to cover its estimated costs of processing applications and administering the Code. Current rates are set out in our tariff tables.