The Law Commission has published its report into the Electronic Communications Code

The Law Commission has today published its report making recommendations to form the basis of a revised Electronic Communications Code.

Cell:cm Chartered Surveyors and our clients responded to the consultation process prior to this report being produced.

The Law Commission summarised: The Code was enacted in 1984. It sets out the regime that governs the rights of electronic communications operators to maintain infrastructure on public and private land.  It applies to the infrastructure forming networks which support broadband, mobile internet and telephone, cable television and landlines.

The current Code has been criticised by courts and the people who work with it as out of date, unclear and inconsistent with other legislation. The reforms that The Law Commission recommends would:

  • provide a clearer definition of the market value that landowners can charge for the use of their land, giving them greater confidence in negotiating and giving providers a better idea of what their network is likely to cost;
  • clarify the conditions under which a landowner can be ordered to give a designated network provider access to his or her land, bringing more certainty to both landowners and providers and helping them to reach agreements more easily;
  • resolve the inconsistencies between the current Code and other legislation;
  • clarify the rights of landowners to remove network equipment from land;
  • specify limited rights for operators to upgrade and share their network equipment; and
  • improve the procedure for resolving disputes under the Code.

Cell:cm Chartered Surveyors and our clients feature within the report number of times and in many cases our suggestions have been adopted.

Cell:cm will be reviewing the report over the coming days and the implications of this. The Law Commission have put their report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with their recommendations, it is now up to the Government to adopt these recommendations and draft and implement a revised Code.

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