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Access rights for Code Operators – both today and in the future

  • United Kingdom
  • Real estate


Firstly, it has been held, in the first significant decision relating to the new Electronic Communications Code, that an operator may obtain an order allowing it to have interim access to a property to assess its suitability for the possible installation of electronic communications apparatus. It was decided that “Code rights” included preparations, such as the carrying out of site surveys, and that to gain interim rights, the operator need only show that it has a “good arguable case” to apply for permanent rights. Interim rights (for a specified period or until the occurrence of a specific event) could be requested independently and need not be a precursor to permanent rights.

Secondly, the government consultation “Ensuring tenants’ access to gigabit-capable connections” proposes amendments to the new Code which would allow operators to be granted temporary access to let property where tenants were requesting an electronic communications service, but the landlord was refusing to engage with the operator in relation to the grant of a wayleave agreement. It is suggested that this temporary access would last until the landlord and the operator had signed a negotiated wayleave agreement between them.

Key points

  • Both case decision and consultation emphasise the Code’s “public service” aim of the provision of electronic communications for all.
  • As the first substantive decision under the Code, the case gives an early indication of the Tribunal’s practical application of the Code and it giving weight to the underlying objective of the speedy and economical delivery of communications networks in the public interest.
  • The closing date for comments to the consultation is 21 December 2018.