Proposals for change

It is as yet unclear what changes will result from the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Current law

Telecoms (strictly speaking, ‘electronic communications’) Law is harmonised in the European Union, so both UK Acts and Statutory Instruments and various EU Directives, Recommendations and Guidelines need to be looked at. The list below is not exhaustive.  Do make sure that you are looking at up to date sources that are in force. In telecoms a significant amount of regulation is imposed by means of secondary or tertiary rules (e.g conditions imposed by Ofcom), which cannot be directly found in the primary sources, but which is linked to on other pages of this guidebook and in blog posts.

Main UK Sources

Digital Economy Act 2017 – this statute contains a number of important changes, although not all have yet been brought into force.

Communications Act 2003 – this statute is the main source of UK telecommunications law, and largely implements the EU Telecoms Package.

Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 – this is the main UK statute dealing with Wireless Telegraphy and spectrum issues.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 – this statute deals with (amongst other things) interception warrants and maintenance of interception capability.

Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – this deals with data retention by communications providers.

Electronic Commerce (EC Directions) Regulations 2002 – these regulations includes the mere conduit, hosting and caching liability exemptions.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 – these regulations particularise and specify the application of the general data protection rules (Data Protection Act 1998) to communications providers.

Computer Misuse Act 1990 – this Act specifies various hacking offences.


Please let us know if there are others we should include, or if any of the links no longer work.