Trenches Law News • February 18th 2021
Wythenshawe-headquartered Internet Service Provider (ISP) Vispa has secured Electronic Communications Code powers from Ofcom.
The successful application – steered by telecoms legal specialist Trenches Law – grants the firm the statutory entitlement to install, maintain, adjust, repair or alter their apparatus under or over public and private land.
The prestigious recognition will support Vispa’s fibre network roll out to 10,000 homes over the next 18 months.
Vispa came to market over two decades ago, as a small ISP with a modest 2,000-strong customer base. Previously reliant on the purchase of wholesale internet lines, the team switched to building its own network in 2014 and specialised particularly in enabling greater wireless connectivity in rural areas struggling with slow broadband.
A fibre roll-out was the logical next step, but mindful of the hurdles that could delay their ambitious network build, Vispa approached Trenches Law, initially for wayleave support.
However, fast forward to the start of 2021, and together, the team has secured Code powers recognition – news that coincides with Vispa securing private investment to help kickstart the fibre project.
“We’d previously shied away from applying for Code powers, believing the process to be complex and cost prohibitive,” explained Vispa’s managing director James Ormerod. “However, we soon learnt that we satisfied much of what Ofcom was looking for – not least because of our trusted heritage, our customer focus and our commitment to fair pricing.
“So, we joined forces with Trenches Law to get the ball rolling, leveraging the expertise of managing director Sharon McDermott – former head of legal at Virgin Media Business – to shape the application, mediate and support us during the public consultation process.”
Commenting on the 18-week application period, Sharon added: “This high-profile place on the register means Vispa can construct and maintain their infrastructure on public highways without needing to obtain a street works licence, projects which are classified as permitted developments can now proceed without having to apply for permission, and they now have rights over private land. The team will still work with utmost respect for both the legislation and local communities, but they will be empowered to work far more efficiently, which means swifter progress towards the nation’s connectivity targets.”