Any provision of a code contract is invalid insofar as it purports to prevent or limit the transfer of the contract to another operator or to subject such an assignment to the fulfilment of conditions. The only exception is that a code agreement continues to require the outgoing operator to guarantee the implementation of the code agreement by the incoming operator. This guarantee can only be extended to the incoming operator immediately. In addition, the government consultation “Ensuring tenants` access to gigabitible connections” proposes changes to the new code that would allow operators to temporarily rent access when tenants request an electronic communications service, but the lessor refused to contact the operator regarding the granting of a freedom of route agreement. It is thought that this temporary access would take as long before the lessor and the operator had signed a negotiated shipping contract between them. The deadline for the notice of consultation was December 21, 2018. New procedures now apply to necessary route requests, which improves the system, but a more radical opportunity for change has been missed. Even if this is the case, DNOs and NTOs cannot recover their costs from the landowner, who is not required to participate in the final hearing, as vigorously as they have opposed the maintenance of the relevant power line. If the necessary route (maximum term of 15 years) is granted by the Secretary of State, the owner of the land can then go to the Supreme Court (House of the Land) to seek compensation on the basis of mandatory ordering principles. One of the most important and controversial areas of the Old Code was the device removal provisions.
There are new provisions on how to terminate a code agreement and then delete it. The new code requires greater formality for all agreements between landowners and operators. Any agreement must now be signed in writing and on behalf of the owner/occupier and the operator and indicate its duration and possible notice. I hope that this will result in fewer “unintentional” agreements between landowners and occupiers, with long-term effects and broader and more sustainable rights than the landowner or occupant expects.