Land providers in the context of the European Commission's planned Gigabit Infrastructure Act
18 October 2023 | Regulation and policy
In February 2023, the European Commission published the draft Gigabit Infrastructure Act (GIA), a regulation designed to replace the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD) of 2014, with the aim of enabling faster, cheaper and more effective roll-out of Gigabit networks across the European Union. To facilitate the roll-out of very-high capacity fixed and mobile communications networks, the GIA intends to regulate:
- network operators: electronic communications networks but also gas, electricity, heating and water networks, as well as transport services, including railways, roads, ports and airports;
- physical infrastructure hosting network equipment: pipes, masts, ducts, inspection chambers, manholes, cabinets, antenna installations, towers and poles, buildings and street furniture.
In June 2023, the European Parliament proposed a number of amendments, including some which would extend the access obligations contemplated by the GIA to access to private land. Analysys Mason was commissioned by APWireless to prepare an independent assessment of the impact of the proposed regulation of access to land, were the Parliament's amendments to be implemented.
Our assessment considers:
- access to land to date and the needs for additional access in the future;
- the cost of land for mobile operators;
- the relationship between towercos and landowners;
- the relationship between towercos and telecom operators;
- the role of mobile site lease aggregators in the value chain associated with the provision of mobile services;
- the impact of the regulation of access to land introduced by the proposed amendments of the European Parliament.
Based on our findings, we conclude that, if regulation of access to land is implemented, it should be targeted at specific situations and not applied across the board. The amendments proposed would generate negative effects by creating significant uncertainty and litigations within the land market, requiring a number of land access (re)negotiations to be resolved by the dispute settlement body created by the GIA, and possibly making landowners unwilling to agree access to land for mobile towers.
Analysys Mason, a global consultancy specialising in telecoms, media and technology, has been supporting operators, regulators and policy makers for more than 35 years.