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Ofcom UK Consult on Changes to Electronic Communications Code

Tuesday, Sep 12th, 2023 (11:51 am) - Score 1,240
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

The UK telecoms and media regulator, Ofcom, has today launched a consultation on their proposals to update the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), which aims to introduce the government’s recent changes that are intended to make it easier for broadband and mobile networks to upgrade, share and deploy new infrastructure.

The ECC reflects a set of rights that are designed to facilitate the installation and maintenance of electronic communications networks. The ECC was last reformed back in 2017 as part of the 2017 Digital Economy Act – supported by Ofcom’s related Code of Practice (here). The changes back then were aimed at making it both easier and cheaper for telecoms operators to access public or private land / property in order to build new networks.

NOTE: The National Connectivity Alliance (NCA) is a group of key telecommunications providers, infrastructure providers, landowners and their professional advisers (details).

However, in the past couple of years a number of new laws have been passed that are designed to improve and refine the aforementioned approach, such as the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 (TILPA) and the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 (PSTIA). Both contain measures that need to be adopted into Ofcom’s code.

Just to simplify. TILPA aims to make it quicker and cheaper for “gigabit-capable” ISPs to access big blocks of flats or apartments (MDU), such as when “rogue landlords” fail to respond (full summary). By comparison, PSTIA includes measures that aim to speed up dispute resolution, while also making it easier for network operators to upgrade and share existing infrastructure (full summary).

The changes – as tentatively implemented via Ofcom’s new consultation proposals (here and here) – will both help mobile operators deploying 4G and 5G networks, as well as gigabit-capable fixed broadband deployments. All of this will naturally feed into the government’s various coverage targets. But it doesn’t cover some changes related to complaints handling, which still need to go through the government’s usual process first.

Ofcom’s Statement

In light of these developments, Ofcom decided it would be appropriate to review the Code of Practice and invited the NCA to contribute to its review by proposing a set of draft revisions to the Code of Practice. Having carefully considered the NCA’s recommendations, this Consultation sets out Ofcom’s proposals for amending the Code of Practice.

Our proposed revisions to the Code of Practice do not include text relating to complaints handling as we anticipate the Government making regulations in relation to this. Our preference is to consider any such regulations before adding additional detail relating to complaints into the Code of Practice.

This consultation will be open for 8 weeks, closing on 7th November 2023. After the consultation closes, Ofcom said they will review all submitted responses and publish a final statement and finalised versions of the Code of Practice on Ofcom’s website.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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