Legislation and regulation
The Digital Connectivity Portal provides an overview of the current legislative and regulatory environment around the deployment of digital infrastructure.
The Electronic Communications Code
The Electronic Communications Code (‘the Code’) regulates the legal relationships between site providers and operators of electronic communications networks (known as Code Operators), to support the rollout and sustainability of communication technology infrastructure. Rights to install infrastructure on public and private land are normally subject to an agreement between the site provider and the operator. Where this cannot be achieved, or where disputes arise, the Code allows either party to apply to a Tribunal for an agreement to be imposed or for resolution of the disputed matter.
The Code was substantially reformed through the Digital Economy Act 2017. The purpose of these reforms was to ensure UK consumers and businesses receive the digital connectivity they need, by making it cheaper and easier for Code Operators to install, maintain and upgrade their apparatus.
The reformed Code is set out in Schedule 3A to the Communications Act 2003. Links to that legislation and additional resources are provided below.
- Electronic Communications Code: Explanatory Notes - Paragraphs 398 - 529
- Schedule 2 - Transitional Provisions
- Schedule 3 - Consequential Amendments
Ofcom and the Code
Ofcom is the statutory regulator for all domestic communications services. This includes digital communications services, like the provision of fixed and mobile broadband services. Ofcom plays an important role in relation to the Code. Individuals or bodies wishing to acquire ‘Code operator’ status must apply to Ofcom.
Additionally, Ofcom has a statutory duty to publish guidance to support the effective operation of the Code, including: a Code of Practice, examples of standard terms that might be included in an agreement, and template notices for site providers and operators to use where needed. Links to these sources and Ofcom’s guidance on the Code are provided below.
- Ofcom: Guidance on the Electronic Communications Code
- Ofcom’s Code of Practice
- Ofcom’s Standard Terms
- Ofcom’s Template Notices