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Telecom behemoths slash phone mast rent by 90%, sparking outrage
United Kingdom Created: 23 Nov 2021
SMALL landowners who host phone masts are demanding a fair deal from telecom behemoths, who are threatening to slash rents by up to 90%.

A change in the law has resulted in a massive drop in income for sports clubs, farmers, charities, churches, hospitals, and community groups all over the country.

Telecom companies have taken advantage of rights granted to them under the 2017 Electronic Communications Code to reduce funding at a time when many community organizations are already struggling.

Some operators have been accused of employing aggressive tactics, including bullying, to compel landlords to accept the new terms or face legal action.

Anna Turley, a former Labour MP, is the chair of the Protect and Connect campaign, which is calling for a thorough review of the 2017 code’s impact.

Since its inception earlier this year, the organization has gathered the support of over 1,000 website owners.

“These large corporations, who make massive profits every year, have been given the power to essentially slash these rents,” Ms Turley explained.

“There’s actually a principle here, which is that there’s a real imbalance of power, aside from the financial cut and the impact on their ability to run their services or continue the sports facilities.”

“Through this code, the government gave these companies complete control in 2017, allowing them to pay whatever they want.”

“That’s a very unequal power balance.”

That isn’t a debate or a market negotiation; it is simply handing over complete control to the major corporations.”

There is also growing concern that the rent cuts will stymie the rollout of 5G across the country, with many small landowners threatening to demolish masts.

Protect and Connect claims that the mobile operators’ alleged aggressive behavior has already slowed the adoption of faster mobile connectivity, causing £2 billion in annual productivity losses.

The campaigners are concerned that the new Product Security and Telecoms Infrastructure Bill, which is expected to be passed before Christmas, will force sites to continue hosting masts despite rent reductions.

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Kathryn Bradshaw is outraged, calling it a “complete and utter disgrace” that community facilities will lose thousands of pounds in rent as a result of hosting masts.

Kathryn, 70, is the secretary of Fox Lane Sports and Social Club, which pays £7,800 per year for an EE mast.

This was predicted to drop to £780 two years ago.

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Source: Brinkwire, Helena Sutan, 23 Nov 2021

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