Traditionally, a right of way is an easement granted by the property owner that gives the rights to travel over the land and the provision by the property owner of reasonable use of the property to others, as long as it is not inconsistent with the use and enjoyment of the land by the owner.
Rights of way for telecommunications operators are a must , as they are the right to enter, to excavate, to install pipes and erect poles that will carry the network and the right to perform necessary repairs when needed.
These rights were not first stipulated in Telecommunications Law 431/2002. This law has granted the benefits to the private sector to benefit from its use in Lebanon at a scale never used before, as it specifies the issuance of a decree that will be prepared by the Authority and approved by the Council of Ministers, which will allow licensed service providers to place their networks within the infrastructure of the State of Lebanon over all its territory or at least on substantial parts of it.
Articles 35 and 36 of Telecommunications Law 431/2002 have granted specifically the access and use of both public and private property to the telecommunications sector. The TRA, meanwhile, has first focused on the rights of way access to the public sector, which is a key element as it includes roads and networks of the existing infrastructure (telecommunications, sewers, electricity...) since Lebanon boasts an extensive public property portfolio that when made available in accordance with Article 35 will greatly reduce the costs to telecommunications service providers of building and operating modern telecommunications networks.
Since the effective achievements of rights of way on the public sector calls for concrete measures of implementation, the TRA has developed, further to Telecommunications law 431/2002, specifically Article 35 and 36, a detailed study which defines the conditions that determine the use of public goods, following consultations with international experts, lawyers and economists and numerous meetings with the public administrations in order to establish these rules in tune with Lebanese standards and international best practice.
Based on the findings of this study and further to the consultations held thereof, the TRA developed a draft decree, under the powers granted to it by law, which defines the conditions that determine the use of public goods, the procedures that govern access and the charges and fees that will prevail from their use.
The TRA Board has lately approved this “Use of Public Properties” draft decree, to be forwarded by the Minister of Telecommunications to the State Council who will in turn propose it to the Council of Ministers, in order to be issued as binding, following its publication in the Official Gazette.