Rights of way for electronic communications: What about governmental fees for acquiring a permit?

10 October 2012


The operators are entitled to attach wall ties and other means of support for its network infrastructure to the walls and facades of the private properties neighbouring the public domain. Equally operators are entitled to let their network cables go overhead and also under private lands. However construction works can only start when the private land owners have been duly notified by the operator. Such installations can also not prevent the private owners from repairing or demolishing their properties. On the request of the land owner network installations will also need to be removed by the network operator when the land owner intends to exercises its right to construct on or to fence off its private land. The costs of such operation will be borne by the operator.


Article L 45-9 of CPCE provides that the occupation of public road domain and other public domain may be subject to tax payment. The amount of the fees is set by the domain administrator/manager. As provide by decree n° 2005-1676, this amount must take into account “the duration of the occupation, the rental value of the lease as well as the material, economic, legal and operational benefits drawn by the licensee”. Above all, the decree established some cap by category of public domain (see herein after the 2011 values).

Source: Association des Maires de France


The general permit for the public right of way granted by BNetzA requires payment of an administrative fee of EUR 800 plus expenses (if any). Other fees apply to receiving further copies of the permit, change requests and revocations. The telecommunications infrastructure is not charged with any other levies.

The individual local permission for the construction work depends on the applicable local rules. However, such rules have to set cost based fees that may not take into consideration the economic value of the telecommunications infrastructure.


Due to contradicting rules and behaviour in the past, it has been recently provided by law that the only fees due for right of way to public bodies are the so called COSAP and TOSAP whose amount is to be calculated taking into account specific principles disciplined by the law.


So-called “leges” are charged for permits as referred to under question 3. These charges vary from community to community and are usually related to the length of the cable to be placed in the ground. No tax can be levied on cables that are in use. Empty ducts deployed earlier than 1 February 2007 are exempted from tax until 1 January 2018. Empty ducts deployed after 1 February 2007 are eligible for tax if they remain unused after ten years. Duct owners should take appropriate measures before 1 February 2017 to avoid tax levies. A price cap is not applicable.


If a servitude is established by an agreement – the fees will be set in the agreement.


Based on the specific legislation regulating taxation by local authorities (1), Article 28 and Article 29 of the Telecommunications Act expressly recognise the powers of local governments to impose taxes upon the occupation of public property for private purposes - 1.5 % of the gross operating revenues billed by the operator in the relevant municipality during the corresponding year. This regime applies to both the owners of public electronic communications networks and operators holding utilisation, access and/or interconnection rights, as confirmed by the Spanish Supreme Court (2).


The party seeking a decision for right of way shall pay all costs associated with the application, including legal costs for the real estate owner and any costs for experts assisting the authorities in valuating the property. A decision for right of way may be appealed to the administrative courts of Sweden. The party seeking the right of way shall bear the costs until final decision. A normal procedure to acquire a decision may cost approximately €5,500 provided however that the decision is not appealed. It is difficult to set a time frame for acquiring a permit, as it depends on the complexity of the matter and if a matter is appealed.

 United Kingdom 

There is a charge for Code powers that applies if the powers are granted, together with an annual fee.

In addition, operators with Code powers must ensure they have sufficient “funds for liabilities” (whether by insurance policy, bond, guarantee or other instrument) to enable removal of the operator’s apparatus or completion of relevant works, should the operator become insolvent.

[1] Royal Decree 2/2004, of March 5th.

[2] Judgement of July 16th 2007 (RJ 2007, 4841).

Other questions answered in the international communications bulletin for October 2012: