Communications Regulation Act 2002

F107 [ Opening of public road for establishment of underground electronic communications infrastructure.

53

53. (1) A network operator shall not commence or carry out or cause to be commenced or carried out any roadworks unless

( a ) the operator

(i) has obtained the prior written consent under subsection (3) of

(I) in the case of a national road, the NRA, or

(II) in the case of any regional or local road, the road authority, in whose functional area the operator proposes to carry out the roadworks,

or

(ii) is deemed to have been granted consent under subsection (4) , where the roadworks are emergency roadworks F108 [ or under subsection (4A) where that subsection applies ] ,

or

( b ) the network operator or any person engaged by the network operator complies with any conditions contained in the consent.

(2) A network operator or a person engaged by the network operator who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable

( a ) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding 5,000, or

( b ) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding 1,000,000.

(3) Subject to this section and any regulations under section 56(2)

( a ) the NRA, following consultation, not exceeding 21 days, with the road authority in whose functional area the national road exists, may grant consent to a network operator, upon application to it by the operator, to carry out roadworks on a national road, or

( b ) a road authority may grant consent to a network operator, upon application to it by the operator, to carry out roadworks on a regional road or local road in the functional area of the road authority,

for the purposes of

(i) establishing underground electronic communications infrastructure and any associated physical infrastructure,

(ii) extending the underground electronic communications network to parts of the road under which electronic communications infrastructure has not previously been placed by that network operator,

(iii) carrying out roadworks on underground electronic communications infrastructure, being maintenance, repair, replacement or the addition or removal of underground electronic communications infrastructure, or

(iv) installing electronic communications infrastructure in ducts, which are the responsibility of an authority, on public roads,

subject to any conditions contained in the consent.

(4) Subject to regulations made in respect of emergency roadworks under section 56(2) , a consent shall be deemed to be granted where the proposed roadworks are emergency roadworks, subject to any conditions the authority concerned may decide while the emergency roadworks are in progress or completed. The network operator shall inform the authority concerned as soon as is practicable in advance of the commencement of those roadworks.

F109 [ (4A)( a ) Subject to this subsection

(i) where an application is made to an authority by a network operator under this section to carry out roadworks and the authority fails to make a decision in respect of the application within the period of 4 months commencing on the date of receipt of the application, consent is deemed to be granted to the network operator on the day following the expiration of that period of 4 months to carry out the roadworks, and

(ii) where the authority has requested additional information from the applicant regarding the application and the authority fails to make a decision in respect of the application within the period of 4 months from the date on which it receives the applicant s response to the request, consent shall be deemed to have been granted on the day following the expiration of that period of 4 months to carry out the roadworks.

( b ) A deemed decision to grant consent under this subsection shall be subject to the conditions that

(i) in advance of the commencement of those roadworks the network operator concerned informs the authority concerned, and

(ii) the network operator concerned complies with any conditions the authority concerned may decide while the roadworks are in progress or completed.

( c ) This subsection does not apply in respect of an application where

(i) within 4 months of receipt of the application, an authority serves notice on the applicant that for exceptional reasons stated in the notice it shall not decide on the application within a period of 4 months commencing on the date of receipt of the application,

(ii) the applicant is not in compliance with any other requirement imposed under law, or

(iii) the applicant gives to the authority in writing his or her consent, for stated reasons, to the extension of the period concerned for making a decision on the application, in which case the period for making the decision shall be extended for the period consented to by the applicant. ]

(5) A consent may contain conditions. Any conditions contained in a consent

( a ) shall not discriminate unfairly between network operators, and

( b ) shall be consistent with the need for the authority to carry out its functions under this Part and under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 and the Road Traffic Acts 1961 to 2007.

(6) Where an authority proposes to grant consent to a network operator under subsection (3) or a consent is granted under subsection (4) F110 [ or (4A) ] , the consent may contain conditions which, without prejudice to any other conditions it proposes to impose on the network operator, may

( a ) provide that network operators meet any losses, liabilities and costs suffered or incurred by the authority, under contractual arrangements with a third party, where such losses, liabilities and costs arise as a result of any act undertaken by the network operator, under F111 [ section 53(3), (4) or (4A) ] , in relation to electronic communications infrastructure,

( b ) where ducts on national roads are provided and made available by an authority to a network operator, provide that the authority shall not be liable to that network operator for any loss or damage howsoever caused to the electronic communications infrastructure in those ducts, which is the property of the network operator except for such loss or damage caused by the wilful act or gross negligence of the authority or its agents acting on its behalf, and

( c ) provide that the authority may have representatives present at work sites for the purpose of determining compliance with any conditions imposed in connection with any act undertaken by the network operator, under a consent issued under F111 [ section 53(3), (4) or (4A) ] , in relation to electronic communications infrastructure.

(7) An authority granting consent shall notify the network operator, in writing, of the reason for any conditions contained in the consent.

(8) The NRA, in the case of a national road, following consultation, not exceeding 21 days, with a road authority in whose functional area the national road exists, or a road authority, in the case of regional and local roads in its functional area, may, subject to any regulations under section 56(2) , impose charges on network operators

( a ) for the grant of consents to cover the administrative costs, including costs involved in monitoring compliance with consents, incurred by the authority under this section, and

( b ) for reasonable costs it may incur in making good long term damage to a public road as a result of road openings carried out by the network operator.

(9) The NRA, may in the case of national roads, make a scheme which will allow for the NRA to impose charges for the use of ducts, which are provided and made available on those roads by an authority to a network operator, subject to the approval of the Minister for Transport following consultation with the Minister and the Minister for Finance.

(10) When considering an application for a consent, an authority shall have regard to

( a ) the existing and potential use and availability of space under the surface of the public road concerned, including

(i) the requirements of the authority in the performance of its functions and responsibilities,

(ii) the course and depth of ducts to be laid by the applicant,

(iii) the existence of ducts in addition to those which are immediately required by any network operator, and

(iv) the existence of duct space in addition to that which is reasonably required by any network operator,

( b ) the safe and efficient operation of the public road,

( c ) road reconstruction, repair and maintenance costs that may arise as a consequence of the application,

( d ) the protection of the environment and of amenities including residential amenities,

( e ) the manner and timing of the reinstatement of the road,

( f ) any scheme adopted under subsection (11) , and

( g ) any contractual arrangements which an authority may have with a third party.

(11) The NRA, in the case of national roads, following consultation, not exceeding 60 days, with road authorities, or a road authority, in the case of regional and local roads in its functional area, may formulate and, after public consultation, adopt a scheme setting out its policy regarding

( a ) the use of underground road capacity, including the rationing of any particular underground spaces below roads,

( b ) conditions (including restrictions and requirements) that may be imposed by it in relation to the grant of consents, either generally or with respect to specific areas or circumstances,

( c ) refusal of consent, either generally or with respect to specific areas or circumstances,

( d ) charges under this Part, and

( e ) emergency roadworks.

(12) The Minister for Transport, in consultation with the Minister, may issue guidelines to be followed by an authority in relation to public consultation regarding a scheme drawn up by it under subsection (11) .

(13) An authority shall consult with the Commission before attaching a condition to a consent it proposes to grant requiring the applicant to lay additional ducts.

(14) Where the holder of a consent fails to comply with any condition attached to a consent, the authority which granted the consent may withdraw the consent.

(15) Where an authority proposes

( a ) to refuse to grant consent,

( b ) to grant consent subject to conditions, or

( c ) to withdraw a consent granted by it,

the authority shall notify the network operator concerned in writing of the proposal and shall include in the notification a statement of the reasons for the proposal and of the right of the network operator to make representations to the authority under subsection (16) .

(16) A network operator may, within 21 days of the receipt by the operator of a notification under subsection (15) , make representations to the authority concerned in relation to the proposal.

(17) Where an authority

( a ) after consideration of any representations made to it by a network operator under subsection (16) , or

( b ) does not receive representations from the network operator concerned within the period specified in subsection (16) ,

decides

(i) to refuse to grant consent,

(ii) to grant consent subject to conditions, or

(iii) to withdraw its consent,

the authority shall, not more than 21 days after the expiration of the period specified in subsection (16) , notify the network operator in writing of its decision and shall include in the notification a statement of the reasons for the decision and of the right of the network operator to appeal the decision under subsection (18) .

(18) A network operator may, within 28 days of the receipt by the operator of a notification under subsection (17) , appeal to the High Court against the decision concerned and the Court may

( a ) confirm the decision,

( b ) amend the decision, or

( c ) direct the authority to grant the consent or refrain from withdrawing consent, as the case may be.

(19) A network operator shall be responsible for all costs incurred in the reinstatement of a road which the operator has opened for the purpose of

( a ) the establishment of underground electronic communications infrastructure, or

( b ) maintenance, repair, replacement or the addition or removal of underground electronic communications infrastructure,

to a standard satisfactory to the authority concerned.

(20) The requirement to hold a licence under section 254 of the Act of 2000 in respect of subsection (1)( e ) of that section does not apply where a network operator has been granted a consent.

(21) A network operator shall, on a request being made by an authority, provide among other things

( a ) such information as the authority may require in relation to the utilisation of underground electronic communications infrastructure owned or operated by the operator, and

( b ) such access to underground electronic communications infrastructure owned or operated by the operator, as may be necessary to enable the authority to exercise its functions under this section.

(22) An authority may apply to the High Court for an order

( a ) by way of injunction, to prohibit any non-compliance, or

( b ) by way of mandamus , to direct any compliance,

with a requirement of this section or the conditions of consent. The Court may grant such order as it sees fit.

(23) This section is without prejudice to section 101D (inserted by the Dublin Transport Authority (Dissolution) Act 1987 ) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (which relates to directions given by local authorities to persons carrying out roadworks).

(24) A summary offence under subsection (2) may be prosecuted by

( a ) where the offence relates to a national road, the NRA or the road authority in whose functional area the offence is committed, or

( b ) where the offence relates to a regional or local road, the road authority within whose functional area the offence is committed. ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F107

Substituted (16.03.2010) by Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act 2010 (2/2010), s. 21(2), commenced on enactment.

F108

Inserted (20.07.2016) by European Union (Reduction of Cost of Deploying High-Speed Public Communications Networks) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 391 of 2016), reg. 19(a).

F109

Inserted (20.07.2016) by European Union (Reduction of Cost of Deploying High-Speed Public Communications Networks) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 391 of 2016), reg. 19(b).

F110

Inserted (20.07.2016) by European Union (Reduction of Cost of Deploying High-Speed Public Communications Networks) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 391 of 2016), reg. 19(c)(i).

F111

Substituted (20.07.2016) by European Union (Reduction of Cost of Deploying High-Speed Public Communications Networks) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 391 of 2016), reg. 19(c)(ii).

Modifications (not altering text):

C26

Application of section extended (1.07.2011) by European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Authorisation) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 335 of 2011), regs. 7(1)(b), 15(2), 19(3), 20(2).

Rights of undertakings under general authorisation

7. (1) An authorised undertaking may— ...

( b) apply for a consent under section 53 of the Act of 2002, and

...

Amendment of rights and obligations

15. ...

(2) The NRA or a road authority may amend the conditions of a consent under section 53 of the Act of 2002 provided that such amendments may only be made in objectively justified cases and in a proportionate manner.

...

Fees for rights of use and rights to install facilities

19. ...

(3) A charge imposed by the NRA or a road authority for a consent under section 53 of the Act of 2002—

(a) may reflect the need to ensure the optimal use of the relevant road, but

(b) shall be objectively justified, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate in relation to its intended purpose and shall take into account the objectives set out in Article 8 of the Framework Directive.

...

Publication of information

20. ...

(2) The Regulator shall make all reasonable efforts, bearing in mind the costs involved, to create a user-friendly overview of information regarding procedures and conditions relating to consents under section 53 of the Act of 2002 and licences under section 254 of the Act of 2000 for the establishment of overground electronic communications infrastructure and any associated physical infrastructure in order to facilitate applications for such consents and licences.

C27

Functions under section transferred (1.01.2008) by Roads and Road Vehicles (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2007 (S.I. No. 815 of 2007), arts. 2, 3(1)(a) and sch. part 1, in effect as per art. 1(2).

2. (1) The administration and business in connection with the exercise, performance or execution of any functions transferred by Article 3 are transferred to the Department of Transport.

(2) References to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government contained in any Act or instrument made under such Act and relating to any administration and business transferred by paragraph (1) shall, on and after the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Department of Transport.

3. (1) The functions vested in the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government by or under—

( a) an Act set out in the first column of Part 1 of the Schedule, and ...

are transferred to the Minister for Transport to the extent specified in the second column of the Part concerned opposite the mention of Act or statutory instrument (as the case may be) so set out.

SCHEDULE

Part 1

Acts, certain functions under which are transferred from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to the Minister for Transport

Short Title of Act and number

Extent of transfer of functions to the Minister for Transport

...

...

Communications Regulation Act 2002 (No. 20 of 2002)

Sections 53 and 56

...

...

Editorial Notes:

E80

Previous affecting provisions: application of section extended (25.07.2003) by European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services)(Authorisation) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 306 of 2003), regs. 5(1)(b)(i) and 7(1)(b), in effect as per reg. 1(2); revoked (1.07.2011) by European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Authorisation) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 335 of 2011), reg. 28(2)(a), subject to transitional provision in reg. 27.