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CLA Opposes Cheaper Rates for Mobile Broadband Masts in UK Rural Areas

Friday, October 26th, 2012 (2:53 pm) - Score 1,013
wireless mobile mast

The Country Land and Business Association(CLA), which represents English and Welsh land owners and repeatedly calls for improvements to UK rural broadband coverage, has opposed a reform of the Electronic Communication Code (ECC) that could make it cheaper for Mobile Broadband operators to expand their availability.

Ofcom states that the ECC enables telecoms firms, such as Mobile Network Operators, to build their networks (e.g. masts) on public land (streets) or to take rights over private land (usually via agreement with the landowner or via the county court etc.).

But crucially the Law Commission (LC) has recently proposed a series of changes to the ECC, which could result in rental payments for mast sites being slashed from “several thousand pounds a year, to the level of payment paid for a National Grid pylon” (i.e. currently between £87 and £147 a year).

Harry Cotterell, CLA President, said:

The suggestion that payments should be based on compulsory purchase principles – rather than on a freely negotiated market value basis – is deeply concerning for CLA members. The CLA is wholly opposed to this suggestion.

Mobile operators are companies run for profit and as such should pay the market price. They choose sites which will be economically viable based on demand.”

In theory the lower costs could make expanding mobile coverage into rural areas more economically viable and thus attractive, which would support the government’s new Mobile Broadband coverage target (i.e. at least 98% of the United Kingdom by the end of 2017).

Meanwhile Cotterell remains adamant that the current “market value approach” has worked for the majority of cases and hasn’t “stopped the roll-out of both mobile and landline telecommunications to the vast majority of the population“. Instead he argues that, “If there is no incentive to host apparatus, landowners will not want to host masts on their land.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar dragoneast

    Well, this is a neat argument: BT (and all the other telecomms operators, ISPs and WISPs) are companies run for profit too. So surely what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and the CLA (and all the others) who bleat about the inadequacy of the market, and seek state funds, should put up or shut up. Right? If any of us want better broadband than the market provides (or anything else) we can pay for it through our universally inflated property assets – we can’t have our cake and eat it! End of story . . . ?

  2. Avatar zemadeiran

    Farmers: we have no internetz to sell our sheeps

    Mobile provider: Let us put a tower on your land and give you little money

    Farmers : You want to provide 4G to my whole village and want to pay me pittance? GET OFF MY LAND! (gets shotgun)

    ON a serious note, maybe a pay scale in line with the number of local people served?

  3. Avatar FibreFred

    Just laughable

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