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Author Topic: UK Landowners Revise Wayleave Agreement to Help Rural Broadband  (Read 468 times)


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The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and National Farmers Union (NFU) have today updated their existing wayleave framework for ISPs, which was first agreed in 2013 and has now been revised to help “speed up rural broadband roll-out” and reflect recent changes in UK law.

Wayleaves are notoriously complicated and often costly legal agreements, which grant special access to land or buildings for the deployment and management of new infrastructure, such as running a new fibre optic cable through farmers’ fields or constructing mobile masts etc.

In the past this was complicated by the fact that each landowner required a separate approach and compensation, which could in some cases result in costs that quickly spiralled out of control (making such deployments unviable for broadband ISPs and mobile operators). The NFU and CLA attempted to tackle this via a standard agreement in 2013 but since then there have been some big changes.

The most recent change was the introduction of a revised Electronic Communications Code, which among other things introduced measures to help telecoms operators reach agreements with landowners that could see them paying about the same amount as utility providers (water, electricity etc.), who often pay a lot less. This approach was not universally popular with many rural landowners due, in part, to a fear of lost income.

Nevertheless the joint CLA and NFU wayleave agreement has now been revised and is available to all broadband infrastructure providers, which they claim is “designed to make it easier for landowners and broadband providers to reach agreement.”

    Mark Bridgeman, CLA Deputy President, said:

    “People living and working in rural areas have fought long and hard for better broadband provision, and the wayleave agreement that we announce today will help speed up fixed line broadband delivery without eroding property rights. It creates a national framework that provides certainty for individual landowners and smooths the way for faster roll-out.

    This revised national Rural Communications Agreement is the culmination of more than a year’s work, and we are pleased to announce this positive step forwards. But there is more work to do: the CLA will keep the pressure on broadband providers to deliver the fast, affordable and reliable connections that the countryside needs, and we will hold Government to their promise of a Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps by 2020.”
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