Julia Lopez, the Minister for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, has announced a technical consultation seeking views on her department’s legislative proposals to ensure that new build homes have access to gigabit-capable connections. This briefing note will be of relevance to local authority planers, property developers and telecoms operators.
Why Is This Consultation Relevant?
The UK government’s digital ambition is to achieve 85% gigabit capable coverage across UK households by 2025, however, reaching the 85% target is still some way off.
Just under a quarter of homes in the UK have access to full fibre according to ThinkBroadband and 40% of homes have access to gigabit capable broadband networks according to Ofcom.
The conservative government manifesto targets a goal of delivering 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020’s.
Ensuring new homes have access to gigabit broadband could go some way to achieving the government’s gigabit ambition while ensuring new build home owners have access to the social and economic benefits of gigabit connectivity.
Building Regulations 2010
Following consultations undertaken in 2018, the government announced proposals in 2020 to amend building regulations to ensure developers install gigabit-ready infrastructure to all new-build homes.
Where this can be achieved within a cost cap, premises should also be connected by a network operator capable of providing connectivity services.
This technical consultation confirms the government’s legislative proposals that will require developers to ensure:
All new build homes are installed with the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections.
A gigabit-capable connection is installed in a new build home subject to a GBP 2,000 cost cap per dwelling.
Where a gigabit-capable connection is not being installed, the next fastest broadband connection is installed without exceeding the GBP 2,000 cost cap.
It is expected that placing a gigabit requirement upon developers provides a clear framework in which to operate when installing gigabit-capable broadband and a recognised compliance process minimising the administrative burden on developers.
The requirements are technologically neutral, allowing developers to install the most appropriate gigabit-capable infrastructure for individual developments.
This will also future proof the requirements, ensuring that the deployment of technological developments enabling gigabit connectivity will not be restricted.
Building regulations are a devolved matter, therefore the legislative amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 will apply to new build homes in England although the government is working closely with devolved administrations to enable UK wide compliance.
The consultation process will end on 28 February 2022.