Telecoms Court Ruling Will Prove ‘Extremely Significant’

Sector: Infrastructure

Group News

The global rollout of 5G – fifth generation mobile networks – is underway, with the super-fast connectivity due to hit the UK as soon as next year.

Domestically, it will mean films and games download in seconds without buffering while smart homes become even smarter through total home-connectivity of lights, fridges and phones – saving householders hundreds of pounds a year.

More importantly though, experts say the 5G revolution will deliver services and applications that are of huge benefit to society such as remote surgery, driverless cars and the use of drones.

But the development of the telecommunications and construction of antennas to handle 5G will be intrinsic to its success and profitability and a recent court case could prove extremely significant in the world of telecoms.

A decision last week in Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited v The University of London 2018 provides the first legal clarity for landowners and operators, says Pegasus Group Director, Simon Tarr.

Simon says: “This judgment is the first to be decided by the Lands Tribunal since the new Electronic Communications Code came into force at the end of December 2017.

“The case was rather complex and the decision detailed but the basic premise is that under the New Code, an operator does not need the agreement of the land or building owner to be able to install telecommunications equipment.

“There are a couple of conditions to satisfy: 1. That the harm to the landowner can be adequately compensated by money and 2. That the public benefit outweighs any harm to the landowner.

“However, the judgment reinforces the fact that the New Code has teeth and enables the Lands Tribunal to force an unwilling landowner to enter into a new lease for a telecoms site.

“Clearly there needs to be wider debate about site suitability and alternative site options in each instance and as such, agreements are only likely to be forced in a small number of cases. “Nevertheless, this is a significant development for the world of telecoms and demonstrates the Governments intention to fully support the rights it outlined in the New Code and the further development of modern wireless infrastructure.”

Simon Tarr is based in the Group’s Liverpool office and specialises in the telecoms sector.

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