Electronic Communications Code: consultation on changes

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has opened a consultation seeking views on whether to make changes to the law around digital infrastructure, such as phone masts and broadband cabinets, with a view to providing more homes with improved internet and mobile coverage. 

These changes would be made to the Electronic Communications Code, specifically to address some concern that previous changes in 2017 have not fully smoothed the process for negotiation between telecoms providers and landowners, and that they take a long time to complete. The consultation will also examine whether there are ways that the use of existing infrastructure can be improved. 

The consultation is structured in three parts: 

  • issues that have arisen relating to obtaining and using Code agreements; 
  • rights to upgrade and share infrastructure;  
  • and difficulties relating to the renewal of expired agreements.  

The consultation proposes reviewing automatic rights which can be used when a phone mast needs to be upgraded from 4G to 5G or shared among operators to remove coverage blackspots, to make clear when these rights should be available. 

Views are also being sought on whether greater certainty is needed for operators and landowners about what will happen when their land agreements come to an end and how they can be renewed. 

techUK response 

Our Communications Infrastructure and Services Programme will consult members on a response to this consultation. If you have any initial questions or comment, please get in touch with the team below.  

The deadline for responses is 24 March 2021.  

Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Jaynesh Patel

Jaynesh Patel

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK