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Government consults on amendments to UK Electronic Communications Code

The government is consulting on amendments to the UK Electronic Communications Code to make it easier for communications operators to provide upgrades to tenants. The government is particularly concerned to improve connectivity in the UK and for properties to be connected with gigabit-capable broadband. Installation of this technology requires physical access to premises.

At the moment, an operator has to obtain a formal permission from the landowner, in access agreement or wayleave, in order to enter a property and install equipment. Operators have reported that large numbers of landlords do not respond to requests for access to properties. Operators can obtain rights of entry by taking an action in the Lands Chamber, but this can be a lengthy process and the operators still have to maintain good relationships with landlords.

The government proposes to amend the Code to place an obligation on landlords to facilitate access to their properties for communications operators, once they have been suitably notified by the operator of the operator's intention to deploy electronic communications apparatus and where a service request is made by a tenant. Where a landlord was absent or unidentifiable, it would be possible to gain access with a magistrates' court warrant of entry.

If you are a tenant experiencing this issue or want to discuss any aspect of property law, please contact Chris Sykes via email or on 020 3794 5959.