Land access for installation and maintenance of existing telecommunications facilities
A carrier wanted to install underground conduit and cable and replace an existing telco pit on rural land next to a railway line to improve the telecommunications network it operates. A carrier has the right to access private land to install low-impact facilities and maintain existing telecommunications facilities if it complies with procedures under Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Schedule 3), including complying with the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021.
The carrier notified the occupier of its proposal to access their land to undertake the activity more than ten business days before its proposed start date. The carrier’s notice explained the activity being proposed, the purpose for the proposed activity, and the pathway under the code for objecting to the proposed activity.
The proposed location was near a railway line. The occupier did not want the carrier to undertake the activity because they were concerned about safety during and after construction, so the occupier objected in writing to the carrier.
The carrier tried to resolve the occupier’s objection by explaining it proposed replacing an existing pit at its same location, and that the proposed cable path ran away from the railway line. The carrier considered there was no alternative cable path because of the need to utilise the existing pit, and so the carrier agreed to work with the occupier on suitable arrangements for undertaking the activity.
The occupier asked the carrier to refer their concerns to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman because it was unsatisfied with the carrier’s response.
We directed the carrier to notify the occupier of its start and finish dates because we were satisfied detriment and inconvenience would be experienced by the occupier not knowing start and finish times inside a three-month window.
We were also satisfied that the further information provided by the carrier to the occupier addressed the occupier’s concerns, along with the carrier meeting its obligations under the Act and the Code. We considered the proposed location was not problematic or inconvenient, and there was no economically feasible or technically practicable alternative.
Our decision meant the carrier could go ahead with the activity.