uk digital connectivity

UK lagging other G7 countries in digital connectivity rollout

The UK is falling behind other major G7 economies when it comes to the roll-out of gigabit broadband and 5G, according to new research from property consultancy Cluttons. uk digital connectivity
The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world‘s advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

This risks holding back investment, performance, jobs and the UK government’s levelling-up agenda.

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UK is most likely 3-5 years behind government broadband targets

On 24 November, the government published its long-awaited response to the January 2021 review and consultation of the 2017 Electronic Communications Code legislation. This is effectively what governs telecommunications agreements, whether for fixed-line or wireless infrastructure, across the UK.

Launched with the intention of simplifying and speeding up the rollout of critical and much-needed communications infrastructure and technologies across the UK, since the implementation of the ECC this rollout has been hugely delayed. The industry has been left divided and fraught with disputes over access, contracts and associated payments.

The reforms

The government has rightly highlighted that the ECC has a key role to play in the rollout of gigabit-capable networks. November’s published revisions to the ECC were a step in the right direction, particularly when it comes to clearing the pathway for operators and fibre service providers to get the job done and lay the crucial infrastructure.

Within the proposed amendments to the ECC there are many encouraging aspects for the marketplace and which reaffirm the government’s commitment to a connected Britain. These include:

  • The launch of a new process allowing for an agreement to be imposed by default whereby a landowner has been unresponsive to three sets of notices by the operator
  • Operators already in situ can now renew their expired agreements with the landowner directly to speed up the process
  • Sharing of existing apparatus to be made a specific right, albeit this is a bare right that will still need to be specifically agreed or acquired
  • The amending of the statutory framework of 1954 Act renewals to closer align with the ECC
  • Operators and landowners alike will be able to apply for interim orders on renewal negotiations, meaning that operators can now seek modifications to an existing agreement, and determine an interim rent from the tribunal to unlock any potential rent reduction uk digital connectivity

Having said that, there were some less positive parts within the Bill such as:

      • The modification of existing agreements during the term are still not to be permitted unless consensually agreed
      • There will be no additional formal fast-track process or any further statutory time limits imposed for dealing with cases beyond the current rule that applications on new sites will be dealt with within six months.


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Driven by wanderlust and a passion for tech, Sandra is the creative force behind Alertify. Love for exploration and discovery is what sparked the idea for Alertify, a product that likely combines Sandra’s technological expertise with the desire to simplify or enhance travel experiences in some way.