Skip Navigation

EU declares that from 2017 all new buildings must be broadband ready
Wednesday 14 May 2014 13:40:25 by Andrew Ferguson

While the UK is steadily progressing towards its 90% (around 2015) and 95% (2017) superfast broadband targets the EU has a longer term goal for 2020 of all citizens in the EU having access to a 30 Mbps or faster connection and 50% of us actually buying a 100 Mbps service. To help achieve this target particularly in countries where faster services are still the domain of cities and towns only the EU has issued a series of directives to help broadband roll-out with the nitty gritty to be dealt with by the local Government.

The measures proposed generally mean no money is needed from the EU and are designed to try and reduce the cost for those wanting to roll-out broadband. The effect of the measures will vary according to the state of play in each EU country but the EU estimates that these changes could save 40 to 60 billion Euro, which amounts to a 30% reduction in expected costs if the EU 2020 targets are to be met. The cost of rolling out infrastructure is largely civils based with the install phase amounting to 80% of the work to roll-out a new network.

The measures outlined are:

  • A 'broadband-ready' label for buildings with high-speed access.
  • New build and major renovations of buildings from 1st January 2017 will need to be high speed ready, exemptions will be allowed for historic buildings, holiday homes or where the cost to do this would be disproportionate. We believe this actually means ensuring ducting leads to each apartment, rather than pre-installing fibre or Ethernet cabling.
  • The right to offer sewage, water main, electricity distribution infrastructure to the telecoms sector so they can use it to install broadband.
  • Network operators (e.g. telecoms, power, water) will have an obligation to offer access to their infrastructure if a reasonable request is made. No details of how pricing will be controlled, but refusal can be due to technical unsuitability, safety, public health or network security.
  • Single information point for operators on existing infrastructure and future plans and if a single point is not available the ability to request it directly from network operators.

Some of these plans may sound slightly familiar from previous efforts by the UK Government to simplify planning regulations and the arguing over the costs of Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) (largely to the Openreach network).

The short summary is that any utility firm that has ducting could potentially be expected to share this now, and while the majority will interpret this as being about breaking the Openreach local loop monopoly, it must be remembered that the UK has a good number of fibre backbone operators and a Virgin Media ducted network across cities and towns (amounts to 48% of UK households). Creative ideas to utilise these alternate ducted networks could be the key to ensuring a more competitive UK local loop and better broadband.

We are unsure as to what effect these changes will have on broadband in rural areas of the UK, where local infrastructure is often very sparse. It is likely that the main winners will be apartment buildings and new competitors in the cities.


Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
I really get concerned when politicians get involved with technology. The BDUK procurement farce was caused in part by the EU specifying what sort of broadband technology should be used.

With FTTC being a last decade technology and with consumers moving more and more to mobile making FTTP likely to be outdated by the end of this decade, having a directive that talks about ducts to individual premises is pretty ridiculous.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
I think if you live in Cornwall you might be pleased that EU politicians got involved ;)

But it's an interesting set of proposals.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Not if I was in the 5% they are intending to supply by satellite
Posted by mdar5 over 3 years ago
Well my house has been SFBB ready for the last 3 years - when I did some re-furb work.

....and this has made exactly zero difference to the chance of any SFBB being anywhere near me today, tomorrow or by 2017.
Posted by m0aur over 3 years ago
Will cost a fortune for a house in the middle of nowhere, which will inflate prices for all.
Posted by zyborg47 over 3 years ago
Would it not be a better idea if they made it that all new buildings have Solar panel? The E.U never get their priorities right and they they tall us we need to save energy
Posted by Ultraman1966 over 3 years ago
This initiative is like 10 years too late...
Posted by KarlAustin over 3 years ago
Virgin also has a lot of ducting going past properties that is actually empty because cable never got ran through those ducts. A number of properties in our village have virgin media ducting running by them, but nothing in them. So it'll be higher than 48% of properties passed by virgin media ducts.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
There is about 4.5 km of ducted telephone line between my house and my local exchange. What would happen if for example Sky were to fill the spare space with fibre, might this then prevent BT laying a fibre cable at a later date?
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
These proposals seem to make more far more sense then anything the UK gov has come up with to be fair, and lets not forget its EU funding thats got the biggest part of the FTTP rollout in the country. As for mobile making FTTP obselete dont make me laugh, most mobile devices still use wifi not 3g/4g. Due to the fact 3g costs the same as a car if you want to watch a few hd movies on it.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
My comment about FTTP refers to the situation I perceive in 2020 not today. Mobile use is already doubling as a percentage of internet use every years despite all the disadvantages you mention now. When those barriers drop being restricted to a fixed line will seem the equivalent of the old black hard-wired telephone.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
Mobile Wireless simply does not have the Bandwidth so I do not see that happening
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
like chrysalis you are using the wrong tense
Posted by Dixinormous over 3 years ago
'Posted by zyborg47 3 days ago
Would it not be a better idea if they made it that all new buildings have Solar panel? The E.U never get their priorities right and they they tall us we need to save energy'

We already have regulations along those lines coming into place though not solar panels but carbon neutral housing, etc.
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
no chance in 2020 we will see 100s of mbits widespread availablity per end user with high usage allowances (unlimited) on tethering. Isnt going to happen. In the past 3-4 years wireless has actually gone backwards, various unlimited packages dissapeared and Threee even withdrawn unlimited tethering to new phone customers. Plus the technology advancements are nowhere near what would be required.
Posted by michaels_perry over 3 years ago
Solar Panels are not the panacea envisaged by zyborg47.
Rural areas are more likely to be supplied via the existing pole-based systems byut stringing fibre over the poles. Cheaper and quicker with less disruption for all.
Providing an inout duct in new build will be relatively easy during construction, but exisiting building will need more work especially if the wall construction is the modern multi-layered type with insulation built in.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.