Barriers that are preventing network operators from upgrading and sharing infrastructure have been targeted in the newly passed Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill, which aims to increase negotiations with landowners and reduce lengthy court action.
The newly passed bill includes:
- A requirement for telecoms operators to consider the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and explain the availability of ADR as an option in their notices to landowners.
- New automatic rights for operators to upgrade and share underground infrastructure, such as fibre optic cables, which were installed prior to the 2017 Code reforms and are not currently covered.
- New rules to allow operators to apply for time-limited access to certain types of land more quickly where a landowner does not respond to repeated requests for permission.
- New provisions to speed-up negotiations for renewal agreements. Operators who already have infrastructure installed under an expired agreement will have the right to either renew it on similar terms to those for new agreements or request a new one.