how we help: an industry perspective
An analysis of the current state of the industry reveals factors that we feel can be skewed against property owners.
unequal playing field
Generally the property owners and their agents are fragmented and don't act as a group. There is no centralised forum for owners to meet and compare notes on dealing specifically with telecommunications installations or carriers.
And because owners deal with these types of specialised, long-term technical transactions very rarely, there tends not to be an in-depth understanding amongst this group of the rights, obligations, and legislation that pertains to them in the industry.
The carriers/operators on the other hand, are a small, tightly-knit group that are well-informed and coordinated when dealing with property owners.
Owner's rights and the appropriate behaviours that can be expected from carriers, are often difficult to decipher from a quagmire of legislation, regulatory bodies, and alliance organisations out there in the market-place. These include:
- Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth): an overarching legislative framework governing carriers' and building owners' rights and responsibilities when rolling out both cable and radio-communications infrastructure in and on buildings. It covers activities such as installation, maintenance, inspections; and also includes associated legislative instruments addressing aspects such as carrier compliance requirements, 'LAAN' (Land Access and Activity Notice), and 'Low Impact' requirements.
- Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997: outlines carriers and property owners' behaviours acceptable in order to comply with the Telecommunications Act 1997.
- ACIF G571: 2002 - Building Access Operations and Installation (siteXcell's MD, Dennis Doty, consulted on this project): this guide is currently under revision and is a joint initiative of the Property Council of Australia and the Communications Alliance Ltd (formerly Australian Communications Industry Form or ACIF) to provide greater clarity to carriers and property owners by standardising procedures across the telecommunications industry for the installation of telecommunications facilities in multi-tenanted buildings.
- Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO): an industry-funded, independent dispute-resolution scheme to help small businesses and residential consumers with complaints about telephone or internet services.
- Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA): the broadcasting, internet, radio-communications and telecommunications national regulatory body that authors a brochure entitled "Accessing Buildings to Install Telecommunications Facilities" as well as a number of other industry publications.
- ACIF C564:2011 Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment: this guide by the Australian Communications Industry Forum requires that carriers adopt a precautionary approach in the planning, installation, and operation of radio-communication infrastructure and applies consultation requirements to the installation of these sites.
- Tenure Contracts: Complicated, technically-oriented or outdated Tenure contracts which may contain clauses relating to present, past, and future lease arrangements.
issues for property owners
The result of the scenarios outlined above, combined with the fact that monitoring telecommunications sites and leases can be low on a property manager's long list of priorities – is that owners may miss out on potential revenue streams that they are in fact, or should be, entitled to.
Sometimes ‘persuasive’ negotiation tactics encountered by owners can also lead to reduced revenue streams.
The flip side is that owners can be exposed to risks that they may not even be aware of – arising from incorrect or absence of documentation, skewed information, or a lack of understanding of their rights and entitlements.