There has been much talk in the rural press about the need to get high speed broadband into rural areas. This is obviously an important issue but one side of the discussion that has been overlooked is in relation to the physical installation of the cables and equipment, and in turn, the impact on farmers and landowners.

Installing the equipment

In recent months the pace of installation has increased dramatically. Various contracts have been awarded to utility installers and they are furiously laying cables to try and meet the ambitious targets set by the Government. Whilst we all want fast broadband, landowners and farmers should not be expected to give up rights and allow their fields to be dug up for free. After all, the companies installing and operating these systems are mostly private companies making money for their shareholders, even if they do hold statutory powers.

Compensation

The likes of BT Openreach and their competitors are probably installing equipment in a field near you right now so it is worth being aware of your rights. If you are approached about allowing them on your land please don’t sign away your rights without taking some advice. Your land and the impact on your business is almost certainly worth more than you will be offered.