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UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS ACT.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section.

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

   1.   Commencement.

   2.   Interpretation.

   3.   Objectives of the Act.

PART II
UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION.

   4.   Establishment of Uganda Communications Commission.

   5.   Functions of the Commission.

   6.   Powers of the Commission.

   7.   Powers of the Minister.

   8.   Independence of the Commission.

   9.   Board of the Commission.

   10.   Disqualification from appointment.

   11.   Vacating office of member of the Board.

   12.   Meetings of the Board.

   13.   Remuneration of members of the Board.

   14.   Committees of the Board.

PART III
SECRETARIAT AND STAFF OF THE COMMISSION.

   15.   Secretariat of the Commission.

   16.   Executive Director.

   17.   Duties of the Executive Director.

   18.   Secretary to the Commission.

   19.   Other officers and staff of the Commission.

   20.   Protection of members of the Board and officers of the Commission.

PART IV
LICENSING OF COMMUNICATIONS.

Radio, Telecommunications and other Communications Licences.

   21.   Licence for radio communications.

   22.   Licence for telecommunications.

   23.   Exemption from requirement for licence.

Management and use of Frequency Spectrum.

   24.   Licence to use frequency spectrum.

   25.   Management of radio spectrum.

Installation of Television and Radio Stations.

   26.   Installation of television and radio stations.

Broadcasting Licence, Right to Broadcast and Broadcasting Standards.

   27.   Broadcasting licence.

   28.   Right to broadcast.

   29.   Duties of a licensee and producer.

   30.   Disqualification of a producer.

   31.   Minimum broadcasting standards.

   32.   Ethical broadcasting standards.

PART V
POSTAL SERVICES.

   33.   Licensing of postal services.

   34.   Subcontracting by a licensee.

   35.   Protection of postal articles.

   36.   Limitation of liability of a licensee.

PART VI
VIDEO AND CINEMA OPERATORS.

   37.   Licence for cinematograph theatre or video library.

PART VII
GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO LICENCES.

   38.   Application for a licence.

   39.   Terms and conditions of a licence.

   40.   Modification of licence.

   41.   Suspension and revocation of licence.

   42.   Transfer of licence.

   43.   Lapse and renewal of a licence.

   44.   Annual report on operations of licensee.

PART VIII
INVESTIGATION AND INSPECTIONS.

   45.   Investigation of complaints.

   46.   Power to institute inquiries.

   47.   Report on investigations.

   48.   Directions to remedy breach.

   49.   Appointment of inspectors.

   50.   Powers of an inspector.

   51.   Search warrant.

PART IX
FAIR COMPETITION AND EQUALITY OF TREATMENT.

   52.   Commission to promote fair competition.

   53.   Unfair competition prohibited.

   54.   Exceptions to fair competition.

   55.   Breach of fair competition.

   56.   Denial of access or service.

   57.   Equality of treatment.

   58.   Interconnection of network facilities.

   59.   Maximum interconnection rates.

PART X
UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS TRIBUNAL.

   60.   Establishment of Uganda Communications Tribunal.

   61.   Funds of the tribunal.

   62.   Disqualification from appointment to the tribunal.

   63.   Vacating office of member of the tribunal.

   64.   Jurisdiction of the tribunal.

   65.   Powers of the tribunal.

PART XI
UGANDA POST LIMITED.

   66.   Uganda Post Limited.

PART XII
FINANCIAL PROVISIONS.

   67.   Funds of the Commission.

   68.   Levy on gross annual revenue of operators.

   69.   Power to open and operate bank accounts.

   70.   Estimates of income and expenditure.

   71.   Application of commission funds.

   72.   Investment of surplus funds.

   73.   Financial year of Commission.

   74.   Accounts.

   75.   Audit.

PART XIII
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES.

   76.   Unlawful opening of postal article.

   77.   Issuing money order with fraudulent intent.

   78.   Offences and penalties for unlicensed persons.

   79.   Interception and disclosure of communication.

   80.   Interception of Government communication.

   81.   Sending false distress signals.

   82.   Offences in respect of radio communications.

   83.   Protection of telecommunication installations.

   84.   False advertisement.

   85.   General penalty.

PART XIV
MISCELLANEOUS.

   86.   Powers of the Commission in a state of emergency.

   87.   Transfer of assets and liabilities.

   88.   Transfer of service contracts.

   89.   Pension fund and retired and redundant employees.

   90.   Agreements and licences by the Commission or Broadcasting Council.

   91.   Pending court proceedings or orders of court.

   92.   Service of notices on the Commission.

   93.   Regulations.

   94.   Amendment of Cap. 49.

   95.   Amendment of Schedules.

   96.   Repeal and saving.

 

      First Schedule   Currency point.

      Second Schedule   Seal of the Commission.

      Third Schedule   Meetings of the Board.

      Fourth Schedule   Minimum broadcasting standards.

      Fifth Schedule   Rate of percentage of gross annual revenue payable by operators.

      Sixth Schedule   Conditions of a licence.

 

UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS ACT.

Commencement: 18 January, 2013 (Except Part X).

   An Act to consolidate and harmonise the Uganda Communications Act and the Electronic Media Act; to dissolve the Uganda Communications Commission and the Broadcasting Council and reconstitute them as one body known as the Uganda Communications Commission; and to provide for related matters.

 

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

 

1.   Commencement.

   (1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act shall come into force upon the date of its publication in the Gazette.

   (2) Part X of this Act shall come into force within one year from the date of publication in the Gazette, on the date appointed by the Minister by statutory instrument.

 

2.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "authorised", in relation to an officer or employee of the Commission, means authorised by the Executive Director to exercise the powers or perform the duties in respect of which an authorised person is required;

   "Board" means the Board established under section 9;

   "broadcaster" means a licensed person who packages and distributes or distributes television or radio programmed services for reception by subscribers or the public, regardless of the technology;

   "broadcasting" means the transmission of sound, video or data, intended for simultaneous reception by the public;

   "cinematograph theatre" means any building, structure, tent or other erection of whatever nature or any place or land in or on which a cinematograph or video exhibition is presented to the public either gratuitously or for reward;

   "Commission" means the Uganda Communications Commission established under section 4;

   "communications" means telecommunications, data communication, radio communications, postal communications and includes broadcasting;

   "communications services" means services performed consisting of the dissemination or interchange of audio, visual or data content using postal, radio, or telecommunications media, data communication, and includes broadcasting;

   "content" means any sound, text, still picture, moving picture or other audiovisual representation, tactile representation or any combination of the preceding which is capable of being created, manipulated, stored, retrieved or communicated electronically;

   "currency point" has the value assigned to it in Schedule 1;

   "data" means electronic representations of information in any form;

   "dominant position" means a position of market power enjoyed by an operator, which enables the operator to prevent effective competition being maintained in the relevant market by giving it the power to behave, to an appreciable extent, independently of its competitors and customers;

   "electronic media" means communication of any message to the public by means of any electronic apparatus;

   "eligible person" means a person who—

   (a)   has not been adjudged bankrupt or has not entered into a composition or a scheme of arrangement with his or her creditors; or

   (b)   has not been convicted of an offence whose penalty exceeds six months imprisonment or a fine exceeding 12 currency points or both;

   "emission of electromagnetic energy" includes the deliberate radiation or reflection of electromagnetic energy by means of any apparatus designed or specially adapted for that purpose whether the reflection is continuous or intermittent;

   "Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Commission appointed under section 16;

   "exhibition" means a display of art, video or data to the public, with or without sound by means of any electronic apparatus;

   "franking machine" means a machine for the purposes of making impressions on postal articles to denote prepayment of postage and includes any metre or metres and any franking or date stamping dies or incidental dies;

   "licence" means a licence issued under this Act;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for information and communications technology;

   "operator" means a person licensed to provide a communication or broadcasting service;

   "person" includes any individual, company, association, or body of persons corporate or unincorporate;

   "postal article" includes any letter, postcard, newspaper, book, document, pamphlet, pattern, sample packet, small packet, parcel package or other article tendered for dispatch or specified in the International Postal Union or in the licence of an operator;

   "postal services" means the services performed and facilities provided in connection with—

   (a)   the collection, transmission and delivery by land, water or air of postal articles;

   (b)   the issue of postage stamps and the use of franking machines;

   (c)   the issue and payment of money from one place to another or address commonly referred to as money ordering;

   "producer" includes a person who is at any given time, in charge of programme production and transmission to the public by means of any electronic apparatus;

   "radio communication" means the transmitting or receiving over paths which are not provided by any material substance constructed or arranged for that purpose, of electromagnetic energy of a frequency not exceeding three million megahertz being energy which either—

   (a)   serves for the conveyance of messages, sound or visual images, whether messages are actually received by any person or not, or for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus; or

   (b)   is used in connection with the determination of position, bearing or distance, or for the gaining of information as to the presence, absence, position or motion of any object or objects of any class;

   "radio communications apparatus" or "radio communications station" means any apparatus or station, as the case may be, for transmitting or receiving of radio communication other than a domestic radio set and where—

   (a)   that radio communications apparatus or station cannot lawfully be used without a radio communications licence or without an exemption under section 23;

   (b)   radio communication in the form of messages, audio or visual images is received or transmitted by that apparatus or station;

   (c)   an apparatus is electrically coupled with another apparatus or station for the purpose of enabling any person to receive or transmit messages, sound or visual images;

   "radio communications services" means services performed and the facilities provided in connection with communication by means of radio communications apparatus;

   "telecommunication" means the emission, transmission or reception through the agency of electricity or electromagnetism of any sounds, signals, signs, writing, images or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems whether or not such signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or other processes by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;

   "telecommunications apparatus" or "telecommunication station" means any apparatus or equipment used or intended to be used in connection with the transmission of communications by means of electricity from one place to another place either along a wire joining those two places or partly by wire from each of those two places and partly by radio communication;

   "telecommunications line" means any wire, cable, equipment, tower, mast, antenna, tunnel, hole, pit trench, pole or other structure or thing used or intended to be used in connection with a telecommunications system;

   "telecommunications service" means a service consisting of the conveyance or reception of any sounds, signs, signals, writing or images by wire, optical or other electronically guided media systems whether or not the signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or other process by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;

   "telecommunications system" means a system for the conveyance through the agency of electric, magnetic, electromagnetic, electrochemical, electromechanical or light energy of—

   (a)   speech, music, data and other sounds;

   (b)   visual images;

   (c)   signals serving for the importance, whether as between persons and things, of any matter otherwise than in the form of sounds, visual images; or

   (d)   signals serving for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus, and

including telecommunications apparatus situated in the Republic of Uganda;

   "tribunal" means the Uganda Communications Tribunal established under section 60;

   "wire" includes optical cable.

 

3.   Objectives of the Act.

   The objectives of this Act are to develop a modern communications sector, which includes telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communications, postal communications, data communication and infrastructure by—

   (a)   establishing one regulatory body for communications in accordance with international best practice;

   (b)   enhancing national coverage of communications services

   (c)   expanding the existing variety of communications services available in Uganda to include modern and innovative communications services;

   (d)   reducing the direct role of Government as an operator in the communications sector and minimising the subsidies paid by the Government to the communications sector;

   (e)   encouraging the participation of the private sector in the development of the communications sector;

   (f)   introducing, encouraging and enabling competition in the communications sector through regulation and licensing of competitive operators to achieve rapid network expansion, standardisation as well as operation of competitively priced and quality services; and

   (g)   establishing and administering a fund for the development of rural communications and information and communication technology in the country.

 

PART II
UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION.

 

4.   Establishment of Uganda Communications Commission.

   (1) There is established the Uganda Communications Commission.

   (2) The Commission is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may for the purposes of discharging its functions under this Act—

   (a)   acquire, hold or dispose of movable and immovable property;

   (b)   sue and be sued in its corporate name;

   (c)   do all acts and things that a body corporate may lawfully do.

   (3) The seal of the Commission shall be authenticated in accordance with Schedule 2.

 

5.   Functions of the Commission.

   (1) The functions of the Commission are—

   (a)   to implement the objectives of this Act;

   (b)   to monitor, inspect, licence, supervise, control and regulate communications services;

   (c)   to allocate, license, standardise and manage the use of the radio frequency spectrum resources in a manner that ensures widest variety of programming and optimal utilisation of spectrum resources;

   (d)   to process applications for the allocation of satellite orbital locations;

   (e)   to regulate rates and charges for communications services with a view to protecting consumers from excessive tariffs and to prevent unfair competitive practices;

   (f)   to establish, amend, administer and enforce a national numbering plan and electronic addresses plan; and assign numbers and electronic addresses;

   (g)   to conduct, or authorise any person to conduct, technical evaluations relating to communications services;

   (h)   to coordinate and collaborate with the relevant national and international organisations in matters relating to communications;

   (i)   to set national standards and ensure compliance with national and international standards and obligations laid down by international communication agreements and treaties to which Uganda is a party;

   (j)   to receive, investigate and arbitrate complaints relating to communications services, and take necessary action;

   (k)   to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers and operators as regards the quality of communications services and equipment;

   (l)   to promote research into the development and use of new communications techniques and technologies, including those which promote accessibility of persons with disability and other members of society to communications services;

   (m)   to improve communications services generally and to ensure equitable distribution of services throughout the country;

   (n)   to promote competition, including the protection of operators from acts and practices of other operators that are damaging to competition, and to facilitate the entry into markets of new and modem systems and services;

   (o)   to regulate interconnection and access systems between operators and users of telecommunications services;

   (p)   to advise the Government on communications policies and legislative measures in respect of providing and operating communications services;

   (q)   to represent Uganda's communications sector at national and international fora and organisations relating to its functions and to coordinate the participation of any interested groups;

   (r)   to collaborate with educational institutions in order to promote specialised education in the field of communications;

   (s)   to establish and administer a fund for the development of rural communications and information and communication technology in the country;

   (t)   to advise the Minister on the administration of this Act;

   (u)   establish an intelligent network monitoring system to monitor traffic, revenue and quality of service of operators;

   (v)   to regulate value added services provided by communications operators;

   (w)   to operate and manage the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology;

   (x)   to set standards, monitor and enforce compliance relating to content;

   (y)   to encourage and promote infrastructure sharing amongst licensees and to provide regulatory guidelines; and

   (z)   to carry out any other function that is related to the functions of the Commission.

   (2) The Commission shall submit to the Minister quarterly reports on the performance of its functions.

   (3) The Minister may at any time request the Commission for a report of its performance.

   (4) The Commission shall submit

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