5G Small Cell Access Agreements

Rolling out 5G mobile coverage requires a lot of supporting digital infrastructure. This is because the required high-band signals do not travel very far, approximately 2% of the range of 4G signal. Therefore to support the vital growth of 5G networks, creating a dense network of small cell technology presents the optimal means of providing sufficient coverage to users.

If a communications network provider needs to use another party’s land to install, operate or maintain a digital communications network or system of infrastructure, they must obtain their agreement to do this through a legally binding access agreement. Historically this has been a barrier, taking months of legal time, delaying infrastructure projects and investment.

We has been engaged with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology through the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) Pilot Programme (see also Digital asset management) to develop best practice for standardised small cell (access) legal agreements, to provide open access for the telecoms industry to enable the roll out of standard contracts across Berkshire.

We have invested in a central legal role to work with the partner authorities to agree a standard format and consistent approach to the access agreement to speed up this process and make it easier and less resource intensive for network providers.

The standardised template is now in use in three of the six DIG partner authorities and the remaining authorities are in the process of finalising this. This now makes it quicker, easier and less resource intensive for network providers and local authorities to broker access to public assets to install vital digital infrastructure.

Our standardised template: AVAILABLE SHORTLY