Gigabit Connectivity to New BuildClare MacNamara
Mandating the provision of fibre connectivity as standard in new build developments has been a longstanding policy priority for BSG and we responded to the DCMS consultation in December 2018. We welcome this week’s announcement that developers in England will now be required to install gigabit-capable infrastructure and, subject to a cost cap, a gigabit-capable connection. This will deliver internet speeds 200 times faster than you would need to watch an HD film on Netflix.
Government will use existing powers in the Building Act 1984 to amend the Building Regulations 2010 to mandate that:
- Developers ensure new homes have gigabit broadband. This includes ensuring that the physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections is provided on site for all new build developments and that the home is connected by an operator to a gigabit-capable connection
- The requirement on the developer to provide a gigabit-capable connection exists unless the cost to the developer of providing connectivity exceeds £2,000, or the operator declines to provide a connection.
- Developers must seek a second quote from network operators, where the first quote suggests that gigabit-capable broadband cannot be installed within the cost cap.
- If gigabit broadband exceeds the cost cap, the developer must provide connectivity to other technologies which can provide at least superfast connection (at least 24Mbit) within the same cost cap, unless the operator declines to provide a connection.
The new measures will streamline the process for developers and keep the administrative burden to a minimum. Additionally the use of Building Regulations 2010 removes the 6-9 month period that would have been required for primary legislation, enabling the introduction of these provisions to be accelerated, and enshrined in secondary legislation. Government has committed to introduce such legislation as soon as possible in this parliamentary session.
Operators are also contributing to the new provisioning of gigabit-cabable infrastructure. Openreach and Virgin Media have already made commitments to Government. Virgin Media will contribute at least £500, rising in the case of some larger sites to £1000. Openreach has also committed to a combined Openreach and Developer Contribution of £3,400, with a maximum developer contribution of £2000. Further commitments are being sought with smaller network operators.
Given that building standards are a devolved matter, these proposed amendments will apply in England only. However, as the provision of gigabit-capable connections to new homes is a priority for all of us across the whole of the UK, DCMS will continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure this policy is implemented in a consistent manner across the UK.