Policy & Regulation

Policy Background: Digital Britain

Technology never stands still.  Having completed a range of measures to promote the roll-out of first-generation broadband in the UK, it soon became apparent to the Government that other countries in Europe were investing in broadband infrastructure capable of delivering even higher speeds.  How should the UK respond?  Was the economic competitiveness of the country in jeopardy?

Streetworks and Code Powers

By Huw Saunders of Catalyst Communications Consulting

Network Interfaces and Standardisation

By Huw Saunders, Catalyst Communications Consulting

Ofcom’s General Condition 2 requires providers of communications networks and services to comply with certain technical standards, specifically with regard to interconnection between networks. GC 2 encourages all network providers to follow relevant European standards (as required by the underlying EU Telecom Framework) or those of the global ITU or equivalent bodies. It also allows Ofcom to specify standards that must be followed by one or more providers.

Next Generation Access – regulation of key input products

By Paul Brisby, Partner at Towerhouse Consulting

This section deals with Ofcom’s regulation of BT in the NGA space.  It looks specifically at wholesale markets:  what products must BT sell to other players?  On what terms?  What are the pricing rules?  It is largely concerned with Openreach (although we also touch on BT Wholesale) and covers the following wholesale product areas:

(i)              Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)

State Aid and Next Generation Broadband

By Rob Bratby, Partner at Olswang LLP

Note:  This information is provided by way of background information and is not legal advice.

What constitutes State Aid?

Any support granted to networks rolling out broadband by the state (including subsidies and tax rebates) can constitute state aid. If that state aid distorts competition or trade between member states it will be prohibited on the basis that it is not compatible with the EU internal market.[1]

Business Rates on Fibre-Optic Networks

Fibre-optical cables are a business asset and as such will attract non-domestic property rates.  In August 2010, the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) published the current list of rateable values for fibre-optic telecommunications networks.  For the first time it also published guidelines for assessing NGA networks, which include FTTC and FTTP connections.

Wayleaves: The Right to Install, Maintain and Repair a Network on Another Person's Land

By Rob Bratby, Partner at Olswang LLP

Note: This information is provided by way of background information and is not legal advice.

A wayleave is a contractual licence granting the operator of an electronic communications network the right to install, maintain and/or repair their equipment (or "Apparatus") on a landowner's and/or occupier's land.

How do I obtain a wayleave?

Most wayleaves are agreed commercially with the landowner.

Radio Spectrum – the UK’s “4G” auction

By Domhnall Dods, Senior Associate at Towerhouse Consulting

The UK recently announced plans to auction spectrum for so-called “4G” services (suitable for LTE and WiMAX, but actually allocating the spectrum on a technology neutral basis). It’s a reasonably complex area, with abstruse economic questions about untested auction theory over-lapping with a controversial legal framework. This note outlines the plans without seeking to be judgmental.

The Plans in Outline

An Introduction to Telecoms Regulation

By Louise Lancaster at Ayres End Consulting.

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