At the end of 2017, the rules governing telecoms operators changed. Among other things, the new rules set out the conditions on which a telecoms operator can take access to a piece of land even when the occupier of the land does not agree.
How the new rules will be enforced in practice is to some extent a matter for the courts to decide. As with any new legislation, it often takes some time before any cases come before the court, and it was only late in 2018 when the first reported case on the topic came out.
The case concerned a telecoms operator which wanted to survey a particular building near Paddington Station in central London. The operator wanted to see if the building was suitable for hosting a telecoms mast. The owner of the building did not want a telecoms mast on its building and refused permission for the survey.
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