CLA and NFU encouraged by OFT’s Opinion on broadband proposals.

29 October 2013

The CLA and NFU were today (23 August) encouraged by the Opinion of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the organisations' jointly proposed recommendations on broadband wayleaves.

The two organisations said: "The purpose of our proposed recommendations is to facilitate the provision of rural broadband and, in particular, to seek to speed up and assist negotiations between infrastructure providers and farmers and landowners.

"We are pleased the OFT has recognised the proposed recommendations could meet the criteria for an individual exemption from competition law, and that they are intended to confer wider benefits in terms of a greater deployment of rural broadband infrastructure.

"The NFU and CLA now need to read the OFT's Opinion in detail and to assess fully the competition law implications of the proposed recommendations in the light of this Opinion, before commenting further."

Matthew Woodford of Browne Jacobson LLP, who advised the NFU, said: "The NFU and CLA needed to balance the wish to support efforts to facilitate and speed up the roll out of broadband in rural areas with the need to address the novel and complex competition law issues raised by the proposed recommendations. 

"The Short-form Opinion process has provided them with a quick and effective way to seek guidance for the purposes of their own self-assessment and should help them to move forward with their plans more quickly and with much greater certainty."