New laws will make it easier for broadband companies to gain access to thousands of blocks of flats across England and Wales.
The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act allows providers to install equipment in blocks of flats when a faster internet connection is requested by a tenant whose landlord has proved unresponsive. The government believes an extra 2,100 residential buildings a year will be connected as a result.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez says it will benefit tenants in flats where landlords repeatedly ignore requests for access from broadband firms. 'Nothing should stop people from seizing the benefits of better broadband, whether it is an unresponsive landlord or a property developer's failure to act,'� she says. 'Millions of renters will no longer be prevented from getting a broadband upgrade due to the silence of their landlord.'�
Tenants living in the UK's 480,000 blocks of flats and apartments previously had to wait for a landlord's permission for a broadband operator to install a faster connection. Broadband companies report that about 40% of their requests for access receive no response, which means residents can lose out on the benefits of faster speeds.
Providers in England and Wales will now be able to seek rights to access a property or shared land if the person required to grant access is unresponsive. The law creates a new route through the courts that operators can use to access blocks of flats and apartments. From the point where a company makes the first request to the landlord, it will take 35 days for this new rule to kick in.