Barrier to gigabit-capable broadband removed with new TILP Bill
The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill is set to become law, following its consideration in the House of Lords. Despite the technical name, the "TILP" Bill will have a significant impact on thousands of people living in apartments and flats across the UK in amending the Electronic Communications Code to introduce a “cheaper and faster” process for telecoms operators access and connect tenanted properties in residential blocks of flats. The Government stated that it expected 3000 additional residential buildings to be connected as a result.
A barrier busted: gigabit-capable broadband for all
The primary legislation was proposed by the Government in October 2019, as an effort to solve the challenges faced by telecoms companies when attempting to access properties within blocks of flats or apartments on behalf of tenants. Companies needed permission from the building's owner to enter the property and undertake the necessary works, but often received no such permission. The TILP legislation will allow an operator to, if no agreement with the landlord is reached, enter a cheaper and more streamlined tribunal process.
The Bill is a welcome development in removing some of the barriers to deployment of gigabit-capable broadband, which Government has targeted to reach 85% of premises by 2025, supported by £5bn in "Outside In" funding. While the target was watered down in the National Infrastructure Strategy and Spending Review in November 2020, industry has been assured that funding is available to match industry's own ambitious investment and rollout plans.
More to come?
In the House of Lords, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DCMS Baroness Barran stated that the Bill contains the "flexibility to bring still more people into its scope in the future, such as those in office blocks and business parks, where the evidence points to it" and that other forthcoming measures DCMS is taking forward include "mandating gigabit connectivity to new-build developments and reforms to the street-works regime so that it better supports deployment".
As well the amendments to the Electronic Communications Code that the TILP Bill will put into place, a consultation is currently underway on whether to make further changes to the Code to help smooth the negotiation process between telecoms companies and landowners.
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