New legislation should mean 99% of new homes have Gigabit broadband
The situation around new build homes has improved drastically but with the push for 100% Gigabit coverage every home built in the next few years that does not have Gigabit services available by default risks making the 100% target even harder.
DCMS has announced that legislation will be put in place to ensure that builders are legally required to install what DCMS calls high-quality digital infrastructure. In laymans terms this means full fibre or possibily extending nearby coax DOCSIS services.
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.
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.Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden
There are caveats and that is around the cost of installing Gigabit services i.e. if the costs are higher than what broadband operators are saying they will commit and above the ceiling that developers are expected to pay there is the option to skimp on the Gigabit aspect and fall back to delivering just superfast connectivity (30 Mbps and faster) though if this also exceeds the cost cap a handful of remote new homes may end up with sub superfast speeds.
The cost cap to the developer is £2,000 per property. Virgin Media has said they will add £500 or £1000 in the case of some larger developments, Openreach is working to a combined total of £3,400 i.e. £1,400 from Openreach and a maximum of £2,000 from the developer.
DCMS has some estimates of the impact but has given no timescale because of course nothing will be enforceable until the legislation has passed. Government estimates that 98.1% of new premises will have Gigabit available with no contribution needed by the property developer and in a small 0.1% of cases a contribution of £1,800 or higher will be needed. It seems that with contributions from the broadband operators i.e. £500 to £1,400 99% of new homes will have a Gigabit option.
We reported on the situation for new build properties back on 25th February 2020 and since then have started work on figuring out what is available to new build for postcodes covering Nov, Dec 2019 and Jan 2020. The preliminary figures from this work can be shared at this time, but we are still in our first pass of three passes we usually make on the dataset.
- UK 2020 New build 6,044 premises, 96.9% superfast, 85.5% full fibre, 87.2% 100 Mbps and faster
- UK 2019 now 170,663 premises up from 151,275, 96.6% superfast (+0.5), 84.3% full fibre (+1.0), 86.1% 100 Mbps and faster (+1.0)
There are other improvements in full fibre coverage for the other recent years and this is a mixture of Fibre First areas and Openreach simply deploying FTTP to areas where it knows the ducting is in good condition and they have good records for the area.
There is a long time lag on any changes around new build homes down to the long planning processes and tendency for developers to get planning permission but to only build in batches. Therefore even if the legislation is passed tomorrow (it won't be) we would not be expecting the full fibre coverage to reach the high 90's until late in 2021.
The next step needed is guidance and possibly legislation to set out what developers need to do in terms of in home wiring for broadband, building a property where the ONT is in a hall and subject to being bashed by foot traffic or in a utility cupboard with no wiring for Ethernet to somewhere is going to cause a lot more headaches in the next couple of years. Extending telephone wiring based broadband was something lots of people were happy to do themselves, and developers if cable broadband was being installed already understand the need to get this to the main TV area, but as streaming becomes the default TV viewing for more homes, having Ethernet installed from the fibre termination area to at least the most likely TV point should be the absolute minimum and preferably at least 1 socket on other floors of the property.