The Verastar team discusses why the City of London’s new ‘wayleave’ template agreement should be used across the UK to help small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) connect to broadband.
SMEs across the UK rely on broadband to access online services that are becoming increasingly vital in a rapidly digitised global economy. Every small business has to its own negotiate “wayleave” legal agreement to permit installation of broadband in its offices.
This is a laborious process that can involve months of negotiations and expensive fees, imposing a significant burden on smaller companies. For example if a business has leased an office before broadband can be installed, they could incur a significant financial loss.
This is a particularly pressing problem in the City of London (also known as the Square Mile). The area has more than 13,000 SMEs and each has to negotiate its own wayleave agreement. The City of London Corporation has been driving a project with the UK capital’s main property managers, broadband operators, landlords and developers to produce a wayleave agreement template for SMEs.
This template, which the Corporation has been collaborating on with the British Standards Institution, Central London Forward, and the City of London Law Society, is designed to resolve delays and speed up the delivery of superfast broadband.The Corporation held a meeting with all stakeholder groups at the Guildhall in London recently which has brought the establishment of the wayleave template close to completion.
Extended across the UK
Writing for City A.M. Mark Boleat, the chairman of the policy and resources committee of the City of London, argued that the template should be “used across the country.” He noted that it should adopted by all parties and has already gained support from trade associations such as the UK Competitive Telecoms Association and the British Property Federation.
Boleat said that “it has the potential to reach out across the telecoms and property industries.” The project has already been endorsed by digital minister Ed Vaisey, who has written to major landlords and operators asking for their support.
The chairman argued that if London SMEs aren’t connected to broadband they will suffer financially, or up sticks because of snail-paced broadband. He also believes the wayleave template agreement should be used throughout the UK. Without it SMEs will continue to incur significant costs in order to connect to vital business broadband services, such as those offered by the Verastar brand kinex.