New-Build Homes To Be Ready Fitted With Gigabit Speed Broadband

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that the government will legislate to make sure all new-build homes will come with gigabit-speed broadband, making them ‘fit for the future’.

The aim is to “level up the UK” and “accelerate the nationwide rollout of world-class broadband with the fastest speeds”, which will allow people to work from home more easily, as well as give more reliable connections for streaming and people using multiple devices at home.

The legislation will require developers and house builders to install high-quality digital infrastructure from the outset, something that only one in five new-build homes currently have. In smaller developments the cost can be high and network operators may not have had the time to build the connections before completion.

By making it a legal requirement and part of building regulations, it will become a priority of the build and “ensure broadband companies are on board before the first brick is laid”.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This legislation means every new home will be built fit for the future and give people access to world-class broadband speeds from the moment they move in.

“It’s all part of our plan to deliver on our commitment to give everyone in the UK access to gigabit broadband, as we connect and level up the country.”

The building regulations will ensure that housing developers and network operators work together to install internet speeds of over 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) and for the cost to be capped at £2,000 per dwelling.

By introducing the legislation, it will remove the need to retrospectively install broadband and reduce disruption and the high costs of doing so.

The statement released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport stated:

“To make sure developers are incentivised to follow the plans, the government has worked with operators to secure significant new commitments that they will contribute to the costs of installing gigabit broadband in new-build homes.

“Virgin Media will contribute at least £500 and in the case of some larger sites £1,000. Openreach has committed to a combined contribution with developers of £3,400, with a maximum developer contribution of £2,000. The government expects to have agreement from other operators in the coming weeks.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:

“We are building more new homes than at any time in the last 30 years and helping more people to get onto the ladder. We want to ensure those new homes are high quality and fit for the future.

“Today’s announcement will deliver internet speeds 200 times faster than you would need to watch an HD film on Netflix.”

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:

“Providing full fibre to new homes is an important part of Openreach’s commitment to invest in faster, more reliable broadband technology – as part of our ‘Fibre First’ strategy.

“We’ve been leading industry, progressively lowering the plot size threshold at which we offer free full fibre installation for new housing developments. This is now available to smaller developments of just 20 homes. In addition, we’ve capped the amount house builders contribute if they ask Openreach to build full fibre to smaller-scale developments of just 2 and 3 premises – to help encourage further full fibre take-up.

“We welcome the government’s announcement that all new build homes will be required to have the infrastructure to support gigabit-capable connections, and we will work closely with government and housebuilders on the best way to deliver this.”

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media, said:

“Many property developers have been building brand new homes with second-rate broadband connections for far too long.

“The Government should be applauded for introducing legislation to ensure every new home has access to future proof gigabit broadband as standard – something we’ve long called for. By busting these broadband barriers, government and industry can work together and ensure new homes are no longer left behind in the gigabit broadband revolution.”

The requirement will be introduced by way of secondary legislation, meaning it can be done quicker, and will be done through the existing powers in the Building Act 1984.

The Government estimates that there are 215,000 new-homes build each year, it expects that 98.1% of the time, broadband will be installed at no cost to developers.

With an assumed contribution from operators of between £500-£1,400, the Government feels the policy will ensure that gigabit-capable connections will be installed into 99% of total new-builds and that it will only be in and expected 0.1% of new-builds that the developer will be required to pay more than £1,800.

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