Whilst only introduced in December 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport is already consulting on the reform of the Electronic Communications Code.
The consultation identifies three key issues with the Code and discusses possible solutions to each.
The Government's motive for the reform is clear: they are targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the UK by 2025 and 95% 4G coverage by 2025. The Code needs to work to enable Operators to roll out the infrastructure required to make this possible.
One of the issues identified with the Code is the unwillingness of some landowners to enter into negotiations with Operators for equipment to be installed on their land. In such circumstances, Operators can elect to proceed with a different site or can pursue the issue in Court. The consultation discusses the problems that this causes the Operators and how it can result in some households and business premises being left behind.
The Government are consulting on an alternative procedure for Code rights to be obtained if a landowner does not engage with an Operator. The aim is to introduce a process which is quick and cost effective for an Operator.
If legislation is introduced following this consultation, it has the potential of shifting the balance of power further in favour of Operators.