Last week we blogged on the reforms to the Electronic Communications Code, which were added as a last minute amendment to the Infrastructure Bill. These have now been spectacularly withdrawn by the government.
Although the revised Code did seek to resolve some of the flaws of the existing Code there was concern about whether the addition of a 59 page amendment to the Bill at such a late stage in the parliamentary process allowed sufficient time for scrutiny and evaluation of the detail. There was also some objection in the industry to the provisions for compensation to landowners and third parties and the ability for telecoms providers to sub-let sites.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is proposing further industry consultation with a view to passing a revised Code in March. While the opportunity to comment on the proposals and draft new Code is to be praised, there may be insufficient parliamentary time or political will to enact a new Code before the general election in May. If this window is missed it may be some years before a new government finds room in its legislative agenda to revisit reform of the Code.
It seems that we will have to live with the old Code for a little while longer.