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Electronic Communications Code Digital Economy Bill

The House of Lords produced a briefing paper on its proposed amendments to the Digital Economy Bill ahead of the further reading of the Bill in the House of Commons which was held on Wednesday, 26 April 2017. These include amendments to deal with changes to the Electronic Communications Code (the Code) including:

• to clarify the relationship between code rights and land registration rules. The amendment confirms that Code rights will bind successors in title to the land they relate to, in accordance with paragraph 10 of the Code, and independently of land registration rules. In short, code rights will bind successors in title whether they are registered or not
• to provide that an operator may assign an agreement under which code rights are conferred to another operator, enabling them to ‘stand in the shoes’ of the first. The landowner cannot make the assignment subject to consent or conditions but may require the first operator to guarantee the obligations of the assignee operator
• to clarify that the new valuation approach for payment of consideration for code rights—assessment at market value on a “no‐scheme” basis—is based on four assumptions. The amendments do not alter the new approach
• to make clear that the right of an owner or occupier whose access to their land is obstructed by electronic communications apparatus without their agreement, to require the removal of that apparatus only arises where the apparatus itself interferes with access
The Digital Economy Bill was published in June 2016, considered by the House of Commons in Autumn 2016 and then introduced into the House of Lords on 20 November 2016. The Third reading took place on 5 April 2017. The House of Lords amendments considered by the Commons on the floor of the House on Wednesday 26 April 2017 did not include those on the Code.
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