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New code will affect existing telecoms agreements

View profile for Emma Coke FALA
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The prospect of the new Electronic Communications Code coming in to force early in 2018 is causing landowners to pull out of telecoms agreements, according to Farmers Weekly Site providers are concerned about the greatly increased difficulty of removing telecoms masts from their land, and in particular about development opportunities being hindered by the prospect of a lengthy court dispute with an operator.

Landowners are right to be concerned now, since the new Code will apply to existing telecoms agreements as well as new ones. However, landowners who do have offers from operators should think carefully before rejecting them. There is a widespread perception that the favourable rents offered by the telecoms operators will be greatly reduced by the new Code, which provides that rents should be assessed in the so-called “no-scheme world”. This means that the fact that the site is being used for telecommunications, and any competition for sites, will be ignored.

Landowners who are not expecting to develop land in the near future may conclude that it is better to lock in a favourable rent now than to risk being compelled to provide a site at a lower rent in future years. 

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