Telecommunications Infrastructure Act Receives Royal Assent

We reported back in October 2019 on the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill, the aim of which was to “help accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks…”. Slightly delayed by the pandemic, the bill has finally made it on to the statute books, receiving Royal Assent on 15 March 2021

The Act is intended to make it easier to install broadband infrastructure in tenanted property and applies where consent has been requested from the landlord but he has failed to respond. The Act introduces a new part 4A into the Communications Act 2003 which gives operators the right to apply to the court in these circumstances to impose an agreement on the landlord. It applies to premises if they form part of a building which contains two or more separate dwellings but will also apply to other premises specified in regulations to be made by the Secretary of State.

Before the operator can apply to the court for an order he must have made an initial request for code rights followed by two warning notices and a final notice in the required form and at prescribed intervals and the landlord must have failed to respond.

If an agreement is imposed it will last for the period ordered by the court, up to a maximum of eighteen months. The intention is that during this period, the operator would either seek to reach a more permanent agreement with the landlord or would apply to the Tribunal to have rights imposed using the existing Code process. The Act also includes provisions for the court to order the operator to pay compensation for loss or damage sustained by the landlord.

It is envisaged that further regulations will be made by the Secretary of State before the Act comes into force including: further conditions to be satisfied by the operator; the terms to be included in a part 4A agreement and the duration. Prior to making these regulations the Secretary of State is required to consult with operators and landlords and the Act will come into force on the date specified in these regulations.

We will be monitoring these regulations and further details will follow when available.

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