We have been starting to see requests being made to our landowner clients where Verizon is seeking to get consent to add utilities. Initially, the pitch is that Verizon needs additional fiber for advanced technologies. When asked why they need a new utility easement across the property and why they can’t use the existing utility easement, Verizon indicates that they need backup fiber. In short, they don’t want the backup fiber routed along the existing utility easement because it could be cut at the same time as the primary fiber.
The issue this creates for a landowner is that there are now additional easements run across the property that could inhibit future development of the property. If every wireless carrier at a site does this- it would be easy to see where there would be a patchwork of fiber easements across the entire property.
Our guidance to landowners facing these type of requests is as follows.
- Don’t ever just sign the simple consent letter.
- Ask for full construction drawings showing the route of the fiber and any handholds or fiber boxes being added to the property.
- If you don’t mind the location, great. If you do, ask Verizon to route it along a more favorable location on the property.
- Check your lease agreement to confirm whether you have any obligation to grant them another fiber/utility easement.
- If not, ask for compensation for the easement. If you need help figuring out the appropriate amount, contact us.
- Ask whether you will be required to sign an easement with another utility company and if so, ask to see the actual document.
- Have that easement document reviewed by your attorney.
- Ask your attorney to add language that requires Verizon to relocate the fiber at their expense if you need to use that portion of the property in the future.