New build homes must offer gigabit wi-fi access

A technical consultation on offering all new homes access to high-speed wi-fi has been announced by the Government.

The changes to the law will mean home developers will be legally required to build gigabit broadband into new homes in England and make it a priority as part of building work. They will also need to bring broadband network operators on board to consider gigabit broadband installation when construction plans are submitted to local councils.

Currently, more than two-thirds of premises have access to gigabit-capable networks, up from one in ten back in 2019 with the government aiming for a minimum of 85%.

Media, data and digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez said:

There are still a significant number of house buyers who miss out on getting the best connectivity in their new homes and therefore the huge benefits that this brings.”

The government hopes its proposals for new build homes in England will ensure no community is left behind.

Builders will have to offer a gigabit-capable connection in all new homes subject to a £2000 cap per dwelling. This will include optical fibre cables, ducts, chambers and termination points. If such a connection is impossible, then the next fastest broadband connection will need to be installed.

Fast and reliable broadband will help owners of new homes throughout the country to live and work more flexibly and will help to support social inclusion and growth.

The law changes we are consulting on today will help us go further and faster to make our homes fit for the future with the infrastructure people will need to take advantage of new technologies in the coming decades” said Lopez.

Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said:

The deployment of gigabit-capable broadband connections to new homes is consistent with DLUHC’s wider work to level up communities. Fast and reliable broadband will help owners of new homes throughout the country to live and work more flexibly and will help to support social inclusion and growth.”

Currently, new build homes without full-fibre, or gigabit connectivity, are mostly developments of less than 30 units as the cost for internet operators to expand the core network is pricy.

The new requirements will include mixed-use schemes, conversions of commercial or disused industrial buildings or houses converted into multiple dwellings.

The consultation will close on 28 February 2022 with legislative amendments to part R of building regulations 2010 to follow.

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