Communication Commission consults on new legislation

Published On:Wednesday, December 2, 2015


The Communications Commission has today published a consultation document updating the Island’s Communication legislation. The consultation was announced by the Chairman of the Communication Commission, Hon J Watterson BA FCA MHK. The Communication Bill 2015 will replace the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the Broadcasting Act 1993 and is based on UK and EU experience.

The Chairman of the Communications Commission stated:

“The system of communications regulation on the Island is creaking and inflexible in the face of increased competition and rapidly changing communications requirements and services. The Telecommunications Act dates back to 1984 and the Broadcasting Act has remained largely unchanged since 1993. Both were drafted in a pre-internet age. Until only a few years ago, there were only two incumbent licensees – Manx Telecom and Manx Radio. Today, the Island has two mobile operators, a third fully licensed telecommunications operator, three Internet Service Providers and three radio stations – all competing for the attention of a population of approximately 86,000 people. It is important for the growth in our economy that we have a vibrant, effective and up to date telecoms and broadcasting landscape, and this Bill will help deliver that”.

The new legislation proposes:

  • Replacing the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the Broadcasting Act 1993 with one single piece of legislation.
  • Providing for a clear sanctions regime for both broadcasting and telecommunications.
  • Allowing for greater flexibility in regulation so that new and emerging technology may be adopted with greater speed than is possible under the existing legislation.
  • Enshrining in primary legislation Tynwald’s recommendation that Manx Radio is the Island’s Public Service Broadcaster (PSB)
  • Allowing for faster modification of existing licences to deal with rapid changing technologies and services

The consultation document is available on the Commission website at at Consultations and the Government website at Consultations and the closing date for submissions is the 13th January 2016 (a previous press release gave the 7th January in error)