The government has amended the Building Regulations 2010 to ensure that new homes constructed in England will be fitted with infrastructure and connections capable of delivering gigabit broadband for the fastest possible access to the internet.
The updated building rules mean that housing developers are legally required to future-proof new homes in England for next-generation gigabit broadband as standard practice during construction.
Connection costs will be capped at £2,000 per home for developers and they will work with network operators to connect developments to the gigabit network. It is estimated that more than 98% of premises fall within this cap. But where a developer is unable to secure a gigabit-capable connection within the cost cap, developers must install the next fastest connection available.
And even where a gigabit-capable connection is not available within the cost cap, gigabit-ready infrastructure, such as ducts, chambers and termination points, still needs to be installed. This will ensure that homes are fit for the digital age but may not be connected straight away.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, digital connectivity spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said: “Gigabit-capable internet connections in every new build home in England will help bridge the digital divide and futureproof our communities, given the essential need for access to high-speed, reliable broadband.
“Councils have been urging developers to install the best possible access to the internet in new builds and this legal change will make all the difference, along with supporting tenants in existing blocks of flats to get the fastest connections. The government should also continue efforts to ensure all existing properties have access to the fastest possible broadband.
“While this law will help get more people on better broadband faster, there still remains a substantial gap in gigabit coverage when comparing densely populated towns and cities to our villages and more remote areas.
“The £2,000 cost cap covering the new scheme will have to be kept under review, so that new builds in rural areas are not disproportionately excluded from being able to get faster internet speeds.”