Government promises all new homes to come with Gigabit broadband

New legislation will bring housing developers and network operators together before any brick is laid

The UK government is introducing new legislation that requires all newly built homes to come with Gigabit-speed broadband by design.  

It means developers will be legally required to install digital infrastructure as part of the planning process and also calls on broadband companies to be involved before any bricks are laid.  One in five newly built homes is still being erected without Gigabit-speed connections, according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with most of these in areas where network operators haven't had time to build in the required standards of connection.

To set this in motion, the government will amend the current building regulations to guarantee that housing developers and network operators install internet speeds of over 1,000Mbps. This will be up to a cost cap of £2,000 per home.

The government estimates that 98.1% of the time gigabit broadband will be installed at no extra cost to developers. Though they will have to contribute more than £1,800 for 1.0% of these new builds.

The assumed operator contribution of between £500-£1,400 means the policy ensures, Gigabit-capable connections will be deployed in 99% of all total new build premises, the government 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," said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden. "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 government has already looked to bring the broadband companies onside, with Virgin Media contributing at £500 to £1,000 per site (depending on its size). Openreach has also committed to a combined contribution with developers of £3,400. DCMS said it expects to reach agreements with other operators in the coming weeks. To help it through parliament, the policy will be laid as secondary legislation, which means it can be introduced quicker, according to DCMS. This will apply to all new residential homes, including conversions and self-built, but it does exclude renovated buildings, schools, hotels and prisons. 

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