Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill

Written evidence submitted by Charles Anderson (PSTIB1 5 )

For the Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill .

Dear Sirs


Telecom Masts – Review of 2017 Code

 

I am the owner of a site in West Dorset with a 40 metre mast, the original 25 year lease with Vodafone was renegotiated in 2013, this was based on market value of the site for a telecom mast, which seemed fair. When this present lease expires due to the 2017 code the rent will be based on the land value, this seems grossly unfair to the landowner. This change in the code has not and will improve broadband coverage in the area, merely save Vodafone rent.  


 The provisions within the 2017 code allow sharing and equipment upgrade without the Landlord’s consent. This may well improve coverage, but again is handing an undeserved gain to the mast operator who will have greater utility and/or income from third parties without sharing these with the Landlord.


I might also comment that the Operators were (before the 2017 code) already in a strong position when negotiating Lease renewals. The Landowner needed to engage professional help ascertain what equipment was on the mast and to assess the market value, and then enter into what were an unbalanced negotiations , due to the expertise and commercial strength of the Operators. In my own experience Vodafone disguised from us our mast’s importance being at the centre of a microwave system, which might have improved the rent. The 2017 code has simply handed even more the power to the Operators.

 
The 2017 code allows Operators to avoid a commercial and going market rent for mast sites based on their utility, this is an arbitrary decision by Government to force Landlords to subsidise Government's objective to help the provision of better broadband coverage, and probably has not been very effective anyway.

 
The code should be revised such that the Landlord is rewarded commensurate with value of the site to tenant, as is the situation in any other property transaction. 

You r s faithfully


Charles Anderson

March 2022.

 

Prepared 18th March 2022