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Improving mobile coverage in rural areas.

In today’s modern world being connected is critical. The ability to browse online, chat and access information when we need it, should be viewed as usual activity and not a privilege.

Poor connectivity in rural areas can have a significant adverse effect on the residents, local farms and businesses who require better mobile coverage to keep pace with today’s evolving digital society.

In response to rural communities’ concerns and needs, the Government made changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC) legislation in December 2017, making it easier for telecom operators to install and upgrade mobile infrastructure on sites. By bringing land valuations in line with their actual worth, rather than their value to the telecom operators, will provide greater investment into improving coverage to rural areas – an outcome which will be welcomed by many.

The ECC is a mechanism for bringing operators and landlords together, to agree on land valuations and rental terms consensually. It’s a positive approach to improving and extending mobile connectivity across the UK. The previous method of valuation would not have been commercially viable to provide the infrastructure now needed to support the demands for connectivity, particularly with data growth which is increasing exponentially. The ECC has divided opinion. For some it is seen as a mechanism for building the UK’s digital future, for others, it’s a barrier to installing mobile infrastructure.

At Cornerstone, we work in partnership with both landlords and the telecom operators and believe that a collaborative approach from both, supported by us, will create a far more positive change, and one where rural communities can connect wherever and whenever they want.

Recent tribunal cases on the ECC (EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited vs The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Islington) point to consensual agreements being the preferred route rather than through the Lands Tribunal.

Many rural areas that have had mobile masts installed, whether, for homeowners, farmers, visitors, businesses or tourists have seen significant benefits. Having digital access saves time, money and effort which wouldn’t be possible with poor or no mobile connection. That’s why reliable mobile connectivity makes such a huge difference to the rural community and the reason that consensual agreement does provide the way forward. 

Simon Oborn
Head of Property & Estates

Landlord Pledge

Our landlords are a crucial part of our network. Together, we are at the heart of the digital economy, enabling connectivity nationwide. Along with our suppliers and landlords, we follow the Ofcom Code of Practice, ensuring consistent behaviours in site dealings and negotiations.

Introduced in 2016, the Landlord Pledge is a Cornerstone initiative adding value to our landlord relationships. As well as working with landlords on delivering the ECC, Cornerstone and our direct contractors are committed to providing our landowners with best-in-class service. This pledge supports the way we work and communicate with you and is based upon us being:

  • Professional
  • Open
  • Courteous
  • Respectful
  • Always ready to talk

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