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UK Real Estate Insights
Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill was introduced on 21 November 2021 to parliament and finally received Royal Assent on 6 December 2022. It is hoped amendments to the Electronic Communications Code (“Code”) will provide clarity and reduce the tension between operators and landowners which is currently delaying digital roll out
When introduced, the Bill promised to amend the Code to support the quick and efficient rollout of gigabit-capable broadband and 5G networks to businesses and households in a way that balances the interests of landowners, telecoms operators and the public.
This is the first wholescale amendment to the Code which was only introduced in 2017 and follows extensive consultation with numerous stakeholders. Three problem areas were identified which, taken together, were leading to extensive delays in renewal agreements being completed:
We shall be monitoring the changes introduced carefully and whether these reforms will encourage a more commercial approach to negotiations between operators and landowners or simply provide fresh ground for litigation.
In summary, the Act introduces:
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021
On a separate but related point, it is worth noting that an OfCom consultation closed on 7 December 2022 on proposed template notices resulting from the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 under the Code.
This consultation relates to two new notices that operators may need to use under Part 4A of the Code to allow them access to multi-dwelling units where a customer has requested an electronic communication service but the landlord has failed to respond to access requests.
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