Government consults on land laws relating to installation of telecoms infrastructure

Written by Sam Trendall on 1 February 2021 in News

Changes to legislation in 2017 have not had desired effect

Credit: Andrew Martin from Pixabay

The government has launched a consultation to examine access-to-land laws relating to the installation of digital infrastructure, including 5G masts.

The exercise comes four years after changes were made to the Electronic Communications Code with the purpose of making it easier and quicker to set up telecoms infrastructure on private and public land. But the government says that these changes have not had the desired effect.

As the government strives to meet its already-revised-down target of delivering gigabit-capable broadband to 85% of the country by 2025 – as well as supporting the delayed rollout of 5G infrastructure across the UK – it is now consulting on whether further legislative changes could be made to quicken installations. 

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The consultation is focusing on three areas, the first of which is “issues relating to obtaining and using code agreements” – which must be in place with landowners before masts and other kit are installed. 

The second area to be looked at is “rights to upgrade and share” infrastructure, while the third is “difficulties specifically relating to the renewal of expired agreements”.

Minister for digital infrastructure Matt Warman said: “As part of our vision to level up the UK with better connectivity and faster broadband speeds, we’re looking at reforming the law so people can get the benefits of better connectivity as soon as possible. We’re also investing £5.5bn to roll out nationwide gigabit broadband and improve poor mobile coverage.”

Government is hoping that “all interested parties” will take “the opportunity to comment on the scale and scope of potential reforms”. Responses are being accepted until 2021.


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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