Contributing towards a better digital economy

Contributing towards a better digital economy

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Read the article by Carlos Pierce, Head of Strategic Legal Projects & The Code Programme at Cornerstone, on how landlords play a key role in the UK mobile industry.

Landlords play a key role in the UK’s mobile industry, but is uncertainty on land rentals affecting the progress and ultimate capability of the UK digital economy?

In today’s fast-paced environment, we are always looking for ways to save time and increase efficiency in a cost-effective way. Using a mobile device which gives us 24/7 access to almost anything is one way to achieve this whether that is communicating with colleagues anywhere in the world; making wireless payments; requesting emergency services; shopping online; conducting research or reporting issues real-time. The flexibility that mobile communications have created over the years is incredible.

Whatever your reason for using a mobile device, it is clear that many of us rely on having instant mobile access in our daily lives…it’s become a necessity rather than a luxury. A report by We Are Social and Hootsuite (Global Digital Report 2019) showed that the number of unique mobile phone users in 2019 was 5.112 billion worldwide - up 2% in the past year.

Cornerstone, leaders in UK mobile infrastructure services, are committed to providing high-class mobile connectivity to the UK digital economy. Our mobile infrastructure which is placed on rooftops, greenfield sites in rural locations and street work sites such as lamp-posts helps keep our society well connected.

Site landlords play a crucial role in enabling Cornerstone to build the infrastructure needed for mobile connectivity. We work collaboratively with them to streamline the process of building an even better communications network in the UK by placing masts where they are needed most. Without their partnership, it will have a detrimental effect on the mobile services we benefit from today. The Government recognises the vital co-operation between landlords and telecom operators and renewed the Electronic Communications Code legislation in 2017 with the objective for both parties to work together in delivering a prosperous UK digital economy.

The legislation is a step in the right direction to further boost digitalisation. The difference in how land is valued and how landowners charge rent has been one of the main changes in the Electronic Communications Code legislation. The valuation of the land is now based on its worth to the landowner rather than the operator to create a fair land acquisition model. To roll out technology more quickly and efficiently, operators can upgrade and share equipment directly on the land. Whilst these legislative changes may need some fine tuning, it’s important that their objectives remain at the top of the agenda if we are to maintain and expand our mobile infrastructure to keep up with the ever-growing demand of connectivity. It is in the interest of the operators and landowners that neither of us becomes a bottleneck to placing masts on sites. If that happens we won’t reap the mutual benefits of enhanced network coverage and connectivity that we all need. Communication is crucial between landlords and telecom operators to reach a common understanding to quickly roll out masts across rural and urban areas.

The demand for mobile communications will continue to grow through generations to come. Cornerstone is very aware of this fact with our goal not to stay in the past but to join the future.

Carlos Pierce, Head of Strategic Legal Projects & The Code Programme, Cornerstone

This article appears as an advertorial on page 4 of the 22 February 2019 edition of Property Week. To read the article and this edition of Property Week click here.