One industry source said telecoms companies were hoping "to be afford the same rights of access that the energy and water companies have - to make it easier to dig up the roads to lay fibre". Often telecom companies are unable to lay fibre broadband if the landlord of a property is unresponsive.Did you see what they did there?
You see it's not about rights to 'dig up the roads' at all - telecoms companies are already what's termed Statutory Undertakers and have exactly the same powers as energy and water companies. They can already run their cables under or alongside every public road and by-way in the Kingdom.
Some years ago in a remote area of south London my contractor was completing an upscale public realm job, high class stone paving over ruinously expensive Steintec cementitious bases. To site the stainless steel bollards, we diamond drilled 35cm deep - just beyond the depth of the formation, an existing footway, beneath. Mid afternoon BT vehicles started to arrive and by knocking-off time we had an entire fleet of emergency trucks, mobile workshops, satellite transceivers, generator trucks, mobile light towers, a flotilla of personnel carriers and about 100 blokes in BT vests there. My diamond driller had grazed - just grazed, mind you - a fibre optic bundle 450mm closer to the surface than it should ever have been. Their fault, not ours. But the reason for the panic was that we'd taken out the private high-speed feeds for both LHR T5 and Reuters. For which BT charges the big corporates an absolute arm and a leg.
BT is increasingly losing the consumer final connection to many competitors in a very competitive environment, so is relying more on providing private fibre to wealthy commercial bodies. For this, it does not have the legal rights to lay its private cables across your garden, digging a bloody great trench in your lawn to do so. That water and gas companies do have this right is reasonable given that they don't install private end-to-end gas mains for HSBC Towers, or an exclusive end-to-end water supply for the hanging gardens of Bloomberg. BT's plea is a con - they want the right to invade private property to lay wholly commercial, exclusive and private fibre optic feeds.
And the grasping bastards are trying to con us that national high-speed PUBLIC broadband depends on giving them free rein for private brigandage.