Opinion

Telecoms operators and rights of access

15th March 2019

Telecoms operators and rights of access

While it is well documented that the Telecommunications Code, that came into force in December 2017, is very much to the advantage of telecoms operators rather than landowners, specialist lawyer Paul Barker confirms that this has now been well illustrated with the first reported case on the new Code. 

In Cornerstone V University of London [2018] the Court held that an operator can demand access to a property in order to assess whether it is suitable for installing telecoms apparatus - before any landlord and tenant relationship has even been established. 

Paul said: “The Court took the view that the right to install equipment must include the right to carry out all of the steps leading up to installation, including access to carry out a survey.

“A right of access therefore now comes within the right to install and the only thing an operator needs to demonstrate in order force their way onto private land is that it would have a good arguable case to apply for permanent Code rights.”

And he concluded: “It is well known that improvements need to be made to allow for better connectivity across the UK and therefore likely that the decision in this case was largely based on public policy, but as things currently stand, unless a landowner can demonstrate that there will be significant prejudice which outweighs the prejudice to the public, it is likely that any telecoms operator who identifies land on which they would like to place equipment, will be entitled to have access.”

 

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