It's good to talk - new telecoms consultation for blocks of flats


Apartment living and access to broadband

Increasingly the population is living in blocks of flats. According to the English Housing Survey, 20% of households now live in flats (20% or 4.7 million). In England, 92% of private renters reported that they had internet access at home (contrasted to 98% of owner-occupiers), falling to 79% for social renters.

Code rights for access to blocks of flats

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 gained Royal Assent in March 2021. The Act inserts a new Part 4A to the Electronic Communications Code which provides a process for telecommunications operators to gain access rights (called “code rights”) to multi-let buildings for a defined period.

Operators will be able to apply to the courts to access blocks of flats and apartments if a landowner is repeatedly unresponsive to requests for access. The Act will prevent a situation where a leaseholder is unable to receive a service due to an uncooperative landlord.

Consultation on exercise of Part 4A rights

On 9 June 2021, the UK Government published a new consultation seeking views on the terms which will accompany the interim Code rights provided to operators who have successfully applied for an order made under Part 4A of the Electronic Communications Code.

Consultation topics

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is looking for views on:

  1. terms to accompany Part 4A interim Code rights (acquired by operators following a successful application at the Tribunal);
  2. the process for making an application to the Tribunal and the duration of interim Code rights; and
  3. extending the scope of Part 4A to office blocks and business parks.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 4 August 2021.

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The increased online activity during the pandemic has shown that connectivity is sometimes just not suitable and many have not had the same quality experience as others. There were the pixelated people on video calls, with parents working late into the evening because their children’s online classes took up the bandwidth during the day.
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