Communications Provider

I had looked at the definition of "communications provider" before,but re-discussing in the office we found it was way wider than I thought before.

I had thought an “electronic communications network” actually required the extra bits such as software and stored data, but no, re-reading it includes associated things like that in the definition, and 32(6) makes it clear that just a transmitter is a "network". In addition, "provider" is tad misleading as it includes "establishment", "maintenance" and "operation".

You can understand why it is a wide definition - the Act is there to try and cover all sorts of (mis) use of transmission equipment, phones, and all sorts.

It is no surprised that it basically defines all of us as a "communications provider". After all, have you ever "operated" a mobile phone (aka "transmitter")? That makes you one.

What is funny is that there are now two clear cases where being a communications provider is an exclusion. We see now that the right to use ADR is not available to someone who is a communications provider. We also know the DEA defines a subscriber as someone not buying a service as a communications provider.

Read the definition - what do you think?

Communications Act 2003 section 405 (1):-

“communications provider” means a person who (within the meaning of section 32(4)) provides an electronic communications network or an electronic communications service;

Communications Act 2003 section 32 (4):-

references to the provision of an electronic communications network include references to its establishment, maintenance or operation;

Communications Act 2003 section 32 (1):-

In this Act “electronic communications network” means—
(a) a transmission system for the conveyance, by the use of electrical, magnetic or electro-magnetic energy, of signals of any description; and
(b) such of the following as are used, by the person providing the system and in association with it, for the conveyance of the signals—
(i) apparatus comprised in the system;
(ii) apparatus used for the switching or routing of the signals; and
(iii) software and stored data.

Communications Act 2003 section 32 (6):-

The reference in subsection (1) to a transmission system includes a reference to a transmission system consisting of no more than a transmitter used for the conveyance of signals.

Communications Act 2003 section 32 (10):-

In this section “signal” includes—
(a)anything comprising speech, music, sounds, visual images or communications or data of any description; and
(b)signals serving for the impartation of anything between persons, between a person and a thing or between things, or for the actuation or control of apparatus.


  1. Wow, I never expected to be driving around in an 'electronic communications network'.

    When I use the indicators on my car, I am switching electrical signals that are converted to electro-magnetic energy in the indicator bulbs and broadcast as binary data to anyone within range with eyeballs.

  2. Just been told that a company claiming to have microwave broadcast systems in operation all over the world is not a communications provider. Guess who says that!

    1. Worse, there people sell access to cameras on the street by the hour - if that is not a CP I don't know what is!


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