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Telecoms infrastructure update

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 was enacted on 6 December 2022 [1].  The purposes behind the Act are to:

  • support the rollout of future-proof, gigabit-capable broadband and 5G networks
  • better protects citizens, networks and infrastructure against the harms enabled through insecure consumer connectable products
  • clarify and streamline the completion and renewal of Code rights agreements.

The latter will be of particular interest to landowners and telecoms operators.


What do landowners and telecoms operators need to know about the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022?

Key points for landowners and operators to note about the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 include:

  • The introduction of limited rights for telecoms operators to upgrade and share existing telecommunications infrastructure/equipment installed under land where that will not involve material adverse impact on the land/landowner
  • New rights concerning the sharing of apparatus between operators
  • A new right for operators in occupation under an expired Code agreement to seek a new agreement
  • A new procedure and ability for a court to impose Code rights where a landowner has failed to respond to repeated requests
  • New requirements for operators to consider using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle Code agreement disputes before making applications to court, and to make landowners aware that ADR is an option. There may be costs penalties for parties who unreasonably refuse to engage in ADR.
  • Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 so as to align the security of tenure/lease renewal procedures in the 1954 Act more closely with the Code. In particular, jurisdiction of lease renewals of Code agreement is transferred from the County Court to the First-tier and Upper Tribunal.  Rent is calculated by reference to the market value of the landlord’s agreement to confer the Code rights on the basis of a specific set of assumptions.  Compensation as a result of the exercise of Code rights is calculated by reference to the landlord’s damage or loss.

Walker Morris’ Code rights, telecommunications infrastructure and renewal expertise

It is to be hoped that the changes enacted in the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 will help to ensure that at least 85% of UK premises can access a 1Gbps capable network by the end of 2025, and that 4G mobile coverage is extended to 95% of the UK in the same time frame.

The changes will certainly mean that landowners will need to be extra vigilant when it comes to responding to communications from operators. All parties will have to be alive to changes that affect their approach to Code agreement negotiations and dispute resolution.

Our specialist real estate litigators are experienced and expert in acting for both landowners and occupiers/operators in relation to Code leases/agreements. We can provide proactive strategic and practical advice in connection with any Code-related communications and/or renewal negotiations. We are well versed in all aspects of ADR, including mediation and arbitration processes, and will be able to help resolve any Code-related disputes as and when they do arise.

For further information or training on any aspect of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022, or for advice or assistance in relation to any Code-related agreement or lease renewal issue, please do not hesitate to contact Lewis Couth, Mehek Sattar or any member of the Real Estate Litigation team.


[1] Sections relating to jurisdiction and transitional provisions only came into force on 6 December 2022.  Other provisions will be enacted in accordance with future regulations, on a date/dates to be confirmed

[2] Electronic Communications Code (“the Code“)