RICS draft guidance note - Surveyors advising in respect of the Electronic Communications Code (1st edition)

1 Introduction

1.1 Context

The electronic communications sector has witnessed dramatic evolution both in terms of the development of new technologies and the demand for services. This has resulted in a profound shift in the way digital electronic communications are deployed, accessed and utilised. The government acknowledged this by enacting updated measures in the Electronic Communications Code (referred to from hereon as the 'Code') at the end of 2017, as part of the Digital Economy Act 2017, to facilitate the delivery and maintenance of high quality digital electronic communications infrastructure and to accommodate future technological development.

The Code regulates the relationship between electronic communications network operators and site providers in the UK and provides a statutory framework for establishing agreements to place, operate and maintain electronic communications apparatus on land and property.

The Code governs the provision of an operator's network or an infrastructure system - typically to support services such as television and radio (both analogue and digital), fixed broadband connections to premises, mobile broadband, voice and text services, cable television and landlines. It provides the legal framework for the roll-out, operation, maintenance and removal of physical networks to support the provision of these, and any other electronic communications services across the UK.

1.2 Purpose

The aim of this guidance note is to highlight the main factors to consider that may influence or impact the variety of roles a surveyor may be called on to perform within this environment. Given the dynamic nature of the industry, it is not intended to provide an exhaustive body of guidance but to identify the main issues that are likely to arise. This guidance note will also provide a framework that surveyors can refer to when advising their clients.

While there are no hard and fast rules, the surveyor needs to bear in mind the government's objectives of achieving the right balance of interests between site providers, electronic communications providers and, most importantly, the public interest in access to a choice of high quality electronic communications services, to ensure a competitive and sustainable modern digital communications infrastructure.

1.3 Scope

This guidance note is intended to assist surveyors advising clients in relation to electronic communications networks and installations that fall under the scope of the Electronic Communications Code.

It should also be understood that the Code does not apply to a subsisting agreement as defined in Paragraph 1 (4) of Schedule 2 of the Digital Economy Act 2017. Such agreements take force under Part 2 of the new Code between the same parties, subject to the modifications made under the Schedule.