Recently, a few of our clients have been contacted by agents of Lightower. Lightower was previously known as National Grid Wireless. These agents are requesting access to upgrade Sprint’s “telecommunications capabilities from traditional “copper” based services, to those of ‘fiber-optic’ service.”
In some Sprint/Nextel cell site and rooftop leases, this may be permitted, especially if the fiber is being accessed through the current utility/access easement already granted to Sprint/Nextel. Additionally, some Sprint/Nextel leases specifically require that the landowner grant additional easements if necessary to bring in telecommunication services.
However, Sprint/Nextel’s blanket letter implies that all of Sprint’s leases permit installation without additional compensation to the landowner. “As indicated in our Lease, License, or Site Agreement with you for access, please extend to Lightower (or their agents, bearing a copy of this letter) the same courtesies that you have previously shown to the Sprint/Nextel employees and/or technicians.” The letters do not state whether a lease amendment is necessary and once you consent to the access and installation, you might be deemed to have waived any rights to compensation.
Lightower stands to make a decent amount of revenue by bringing fiber-optic service to the property, especially if there are multiple wireless users using the property. Whether Lightower’s installation of fiber to the cell site constitutes an sublease of the property or not depends upon your existing lease agreement. You should contact your attorney to confirm whether they have the right to install fiber to the cell sites on the property or just Sprint’s. If they don’t have the right and you are discussing compensation and wish to know what to ask for, please contact Steel in the Air.