UK government demands gigabit broadband for new homes in England


New homes in England will have to be built with gigabit broadband connections as a result of new laws the government has brought into force.

Ministers have 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 – the fastest internet speeds on the market.

Gigabit broadband is now available in over 72 per cent of the UK and is already boosting productivity for millions working at home through lightning-fast download speeds, as well as enabling entire families to stream movies, TV and video games in high-quality 4K and 8K definition onto multiple devices at the same time with no slowdowns in speed.

The updated regulations mean that more people moving into new homes will have a gigabit-capable broadband connection ready when construction is completed, avoiding the need for costly and disruptive installation work after the home is built and enabling residents to arrange the best possible internet service at the point they move in.

In a further boost to people’s access to better broadband, another new law has made it easier to install faster internet connections in blocks of flats when landlords repeatedly ignore requests for access from broadband firms.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act (TILPA), now in force in England and Wales, makes it easier for broadband providers to gain access to install equipment in blocks of flats, when a tenant requests a faster connection. It is estimated that an extra 2,100 residential buildings a year will be connected as a result.

Says Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez:

“Nothing should stop people from seizing the benefits of better broadband, whether it is an unresponsive landlord or a property developer’s failure to act.

“Thanks to our new laws, millions of renters will no longer be prevented from getting a broadband upgrade due to the silence of their landlord, and those moving into newly built homes can be confident they’ll have access to the fastest speeds available from the day they move in.”

The updated building rules mean home developers will be 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 together with network operators to connect developments to the gigabit network. It is estimated over 98 per cent of premises fall within this cap.

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.

Previously, tenants living in the UK’s estimated 480,000 blocks of flats and apartments (also known as multi-dwelling units, or MDUs) would usually have had to wait for a landlord’s permission to have a broadband operator enter their building to install a faster connection.

These access rights are essential for delivering broadband upgrades as operators cannot deploy their services without first obtaining permission, either from the landowner or a court, to install their equipment.

Concludes Ernest Doku, broadband expert at

 “Shoring up the future of our broadband infrastructure is essential to getting homes connected today as well as keeping up with the demands of multiple household gadgets tomorrow. 

“In an age of hybrid working and HD streaming, our broadband is under tremendous strain to meet our work and entertainment needs, so fitting out new homes with gigabit speeds should enable busy households to cope with current demands and futureproof them as usage grows. 

“When buyers choose a new-build property, they expect to enjoy their home the moment they get through the door. Going through the upheaval of then having it dug up to install new cables can be both financially and mentally stressful.

“The regulation changes announced today will avoid these situations arising, and also make people living in blocks of flats less reliant on their landlords to receive upgraded broadband.”

Chris Price
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