October 31, 2022
The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act gained Royal Assent in March 2021.
The Act amended the Electronic Communications Code (set out in Schedule 3A to the Communications Act 2003) by adding Part 4A to the Code to create a new, bespoke process within the courts that operators can use to gain time-limited Code rights, i.e. imposition by the court of an agreement allowing the operator to provide an electronic communications service, with respect to a leased property in instances where: (i) a leaseholder within the property has requested a service to be provided; (ii) the operator is unable to provide the service to the leaseholder without gaining access rights from the landowner; and (iii) repeated notices to the landowner have failed to receive a response. The scope of the Act covers only multi-dwelling buildings such as blocks of flats or apartments.
Following consultation, on 19 October 2022 the Government laid before Parliament the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) (Conditions and Time Limits) Regulations 2022, which set out the conditions that the operator must satisfy in order to obtain the court order acquiring the time-limited Code rights to the property in question when making an application under Part 4A.
The conditions to be satisfied before a Part 4A final notice to the required grantor can be given are:
- the operator must inspect the register of title for the connected land and apply for an official copy of each individual register that includes the connected land;
- the operator must request the lessee to provide it with the name and address of the required grantor (i.e. the person from whom permission to access the land must be obtained); and
- if the operator obtains new information in relation to the name or address of the required grantor before giving final notice, the operator must re-submit the warning notices already given to the required grantor under Part 4A with the new information.
The conditions to be satisfied before applying to the court for a Part 4A order are:
- the operator must provide to the court copies of the request notice, the two warning notices and the final notice given to the required grantor in accordance with Part 4A;
- the operator must provide to the court evidence that each notice was validly given, as well as evidence of the initial request from the lessee to provide an electronic communications service; and
- the operator must provide to the court evidence that it has complied with the conditions regarding giving final notice to the required grantor (as set out above).
The Regulations also provide that the time limit for applying for a Part 4A order is 42 days starting with the day on which the final notice is given to the required grantor.
Any Part 4A order granted lasts for 18 months starting with the day on which the order comes into effect.
The Regulations will come into force in England and Wales on 26 December 2022 and in Scotland on 1 July 2023. To access the Regulations, click here.