Dalcour Maclaren has an excellent working relationship with MBNL and have worked closely to renew existing telecom agreements pursuant to the New Electronic Communications Code (‘the New Code’) in a collaborative effort to maintain and improve this world-leading mobile network system across the UK.
We have helped develop a process to support the negotiation of new Code agreements, and this example is one of a growing number that has now been successfully agreed on a consensual basis with site providers:
The site is located in rural Wales, north of Carmarthen. EE & H3G have previously been in occupation to deliver vital mobile network services, including 4G, to the local community. The mast is in a grass paddock adjacent to agricultural farm buildings. Access to the equipment was required via the farmyard.
We are required to value each site based on new parameters introduced by the New Code, which states that:
- Market value of the relevant person’s agreement to confer or be bound by Code rights;
- an amount that, at the date, the market value is assessed, a willing buyer would pay a willing seller; &
- right that the transaction relates to does not relate to the provisions or use of an electronic communications network (a ‘no network’ assumption).
The underlying land use was grassland, and comparable evidence was used to assess an annual site payment for the area of land taken. In a recent case, the Upper Tribunal ruled that adoption of the Code’s valuation principles in their most literal sense was not reflective.
DM is currently negotiating 100’s of new Code Agreements, which comprise a range of telecom site types and locations around the UK, delivering mobile connectivity to millions of people.
Heads of terms were drafted and issued to the Site Provider (SP), alongside full details of recent changes in legislation and the drivers behind these. The site provider also chose to be represented by a local agent.
The instructed agent and SP accepted that the site was beneficial to the local public and that a realignment of dis-proportionality high rents was required to help fund much-needed investment in the network to deliver valuable improvement in connectivity. The terms proposed were considered broadly acceptable; however, further clauses were accepted into the agreement to account for the on-farm biosecurity measures in force to preserve the well-being of the farm’s livestock.
Terms were agreed reasonably swiftly, and respective solicitors instructed. The agreement reached satisfied all parties and resulted in a necessary cost-saving for the Operator whilst paving the way for the site’s future upgrade to 5G. The landowner continues to receive a fair and reasonable site payment for the use of their land, and they and the local community continue to enjoy the benefits that excellent mobile connectivity delivers. This is a fantastic example of all parties working together to reach a consensual agreement while respecting the site providers’ and operators’ requirements.