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March 2020 Update: New legislation - Developer obligation to install gigabit-capable full fibre broadband in new sites

Download a PDF copy of ‘New Build Developments Guidance’

Demand for gigabit-capable full fibre broadband is growing fast with households and businesses, as connectivity is now an essential part of everyday life, it is expected by all consumers.

The ‘Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review 2018’ outlined the Government’s plans for 15 million premises to have full fibre by 2025, and nationwide coverage by 2033. To support this, on March 17th, 2020 the Government published its response to ‘New Build Developments: Consultation on delivering gigabit-capable connections’.

In summary, the Government will be introducing new legislation to place obligations on housing developers to work with network operators to install gigabit-capable full fibre broadband, as standard. The Government will now:

  • Amend the ‘Building Regulations 2010’ to require all new build developments to have the physical infrastructure to support gigabit-capable connections
  • Amend the ‘Building Regulations 2010’ to create a requirement on housing developers to work with network operators so that gigabit broadband is installed in new build developments, up to a cost cap
  • Publish supporting statutory guidance (Approved Documents) as soon as possible
  • Continue to work with network operators to ensure they are connecting as many new build developments as possible and at the lowest possible price
  • Work with housing developers and their representative bodies to raise awareness of these new requirements’

For full details of the Government's response to the consultation and a summary of the finalised process for mandating gigabit-capable connections in new build developments visit:

‘New Build Developments: Consultation on delivering gigabit-capable connections - Government response, March 2020’

Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Press release: New-build homes to come gigabit-speed ready

With any new development the earlier a developer engages with network operators, the more cost effective the solution and deployment will be. Under the new legislation network operators will be required to make contributions towards the costs, and in some cases this can be provided free of charge to the developer.

Further information about network operators and their offers

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Residential Developments

Residents in new developments expect to be able to take full advantage of everything the internet has to offer including connecting to the cloud, streaming in HD or ultra-HD, video calls, low-latency online gaming, online shopping and connecting with people on social media. The provision of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband will make the properties more attractive to buyers and will meet the resident's broadband expectations.

Commercial Developments

Having the right level of connectivity is crucial for commercial developments to ensure businesses have the complete infrastructure available from the first day. This will also help developers sell and fill the site.

Network operators are equally interested in working to provide connectivity at commercial sites, but critically need to be made aware of developments are the earliest possible opportunity to enable the best solution.

What is gigabit-capable full fibre?

Full-fibre networks use fibre optic cables to connect the exchange directly to each premise. Full-fibre connections are capable of delivering speeds greater than 1 gigabit per second (Gbps; 1 Gbps is equal to 1000 Mbps). Full-fibre networks are more reliable than copper-based networks and cheaper to maintain and operate. Full-fibre networks are also important for supporting high capacity mobile broadband networks, particularly future 5G networks. Full-fibre networks, also referred to as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), consist of fibre optic cables running from the local exchange directly to each premises. Fibre optic cables transmit data using light and can carry more data with faster speeds and significantly less signal loss with distance compared to copper cables. Gigabit-capable connections can also be delivered via technologies such as cable (DOCSIS 3.1) and fixed wireless access.

Developers will be asked to consider installing gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure from multiple network operators in order to provide choice and competition to consumers. Occupiers should be able to access broadband ideally from a choice of at least two network operators upon occupation of the premises. Developers should also consider their ability to upgrade the infrastructure in the future in order to minimise disruption to occupiers/users.


Gigabit-capable Full Fibre Network Operators

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Openreach

Information applies to new residential and commercial developments:

Virgin Media

CityFibre

CityFibre only invests in full fibre networks, which means fibre at every point in the network, including the final leg from the street cabinet. With no reliance on copper infrastructure, our connections are the best way to ensure your buyers receive gigabit-speed, consistent and reliable internet connectivity. Provide a future-proof network capable of 10Gbit/s and beyond. Sites of 10+ plots – free issue of ducts, chambers & lids and ancillary items to site and payment of approved works to developer. Dedicated locally based City Planner for rapid and consistent turnaround of site design. CityFibre are interested in smaller plots of <10 and will provide further support and information on a site by site basis.

Hyperoptic

Gigaclear

This list is not exhaustive.

For further information on other technologies available, see our technologies page.

Planning Application Evidence: Installation of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband in new developments

The types of evidence that can be submitted include:

  • A contract or invoice for the installation of the physical infrastructure and the connection to gigabit-capable full fibre broadband (must match the stipulation in the original requirement by the Local Authority)
  • Confirmation of the speed that will be achieved by the gigabit-capable full fibre broadband infrastructure, from the network operator