I want faster internet installed but my neighbour won't provide consent to access the property

Property

Sound familiar? You want Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) installed but your neighbour, who you share a driveway with, has either outright objected or has ignored the consent request for the contractors to access the property. You’re left with slow internet and no easy way of resolving the issue; however hope may be on the horizon.

The rules that telecommunications companies follow when accessing your property and the property you share with a neighbour may be changing. This means that in some instances the property owner could have less opportunity to object to Ultra-Fast Broadband (“UFB”) being installed if the method of installing it has a “low impact” on the property both neighbours share, such as a driveway.

The Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment has published a discussion document including the following key proposals:

  • Telecommunications companies currently require the written consent of all parties with an interest in shared property (such as a driveway) before they can connect a property to UFB. This can cause delays or may mean not all home owners are successful in obtaining UFB because a neighbour either refuses to or does not get around to signing off the required consent.

    This can cause particular difficulties in a multi-ownership situation such as an apartment complex.

    It is proposed that if certain conditions are met, affected property owners could be deemed to have consented to this access if they do not object within a certain period of time.

  • In instances where the impact on property owners by installing UFB is deemed as “low”, it is proposed that telecommunications companies can use existing infrastructure without having to negotiate individually with each property owner.

  • To provide for ongoing rights of access to private land by telecommunications companies to maintain fibre infrastructure once installed. Currently copper telecommunications infrastructure has ongoing rights of access. This means telco contractors will be able to access your property to fix or maintain infrastructure as necessary.

  • Establish an enhanced disputes resolution process service for telecommunications land access disputes. This will ensure access to a fair and efficient process for property owners to come to a decision.

Chorus, the Telecommunications Forum and Internet NZ have all voiced support for these proposals.

The deadline for submissions was 24 July 2015, so submissions are currently being considered by the Minister before any further action is taken. We will provide an update as soon as more information is available. For now, rest assured that you aren't the only one experiencing this issue and something positive is being done to address it. Hopefully we will have an update for you soon!

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Copyright © Cavell Leitch. All rights reserved. Redistribution is only permitted with express written permission. For enquiries please contact us. This article by its nature cannot be comprehensive and cannot be relied on by clients as advice. It is provided to assist clients to identify legal issues on which they should seek legal advice. Please consult the professional staff of Cavell Leitch for advice specific to your situation.