Gigabit? Gigalot! Consultation opens on proposals to require all new homes built with download speeds of 1Gbps
Mae ymgynghoriad wedi agor ar gynigion i’w gwneud yn ofynnol sicrhau cyflymder lawrlwytho o 1 gigadid yr eiliad ym mhob cartrefnewydd sy’n cael ei adeiladu
The Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething and the Minister for Climate Change Julie James have announced a consultation into proposals to require housing developers to ensure all new build houses be equipped with gigabit broadband capability.
Digital connectivity is increasingly important to people across Wales to keep in touch with friends and family, work from home or access public services. When new homes are built, we want to make sure that connectivity is consistent and future proof. The Welsh Government has therefore committed, through its Programme for Government and the Digital Strategy for Wales, to upgrade our digital and communications infrastructure.
The proposals outlined in this consultation will amend building regulations to require developers to ensure that:
- All new build homes are installed with the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections;
- a gigabit-capable connection is installed in a new build home subject to a £2,000 cost cap per dwelling;
- or where a gigabit-capable connection is not being installed, the next fastest broadband connection is installed without exceeding the £2,000 cost cap.
Fast and reliable digital connectivity meets many of the goals under the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. Fast and reliable broadband in new homes supports a Wales of cohesive communities by helping people stay in touch with each other reducing social isolation and supporting access to public services. It also delivers against a more equal Wales by enabling access to educational opportunities and civic participation online.
This proposal also supports the objectives of the Welsh Government’s national framework for development, Future Wales. This framework includes the objective to support the provision of digital communications infrastructure and services across the country.
This “gigabit capability” proposal will for the most part be fibre and will require developers to install underground ducting to enable connections to be made to buildings.
The consultation announced today will close on the 28 of April 2023, followed by the publication of responses and subsequently legislation being laid before the Senedd.
The proposed new requirements are designed to align with current housing development practices. This will ensure that all developers are taking the necessary steps to equip new build homes with gigabit-ready infrastructure and gigabit-capable connections whilst minimising burdens.
The new regulations will require each dwelling (including each individual dwelling in multi-dwelling buildings) to be equipped with the required infrastructure to support at least one gigabit-capable connection. This includes in-building and exterior infrastructure located anywhere within the site such as in the footpath, driveway or common area leading from the building.
Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething said:
“Access to fast and reliable broadband is an essential utility. It enables access to lifelong learning opportunities and public services, tackles social isolation, enables flexible home working and brings people together to tackle local and global issues. The pandemic has also undoubtedly brought the need for good future-proofed connectivity into sharper focus.
“The proposals we are consulting on will help us go further and faster to make our homes fit for the future. I urge individuals, businesses, charities and everyone in between to respond to the consultation and have your say!”
Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:
“Broadband connectivity is already standard in many developments, but with so many people working from home, it is now essential. By requiring all housing developers to include gigabit broadband capability in their new-builds, these proposals will help ensure the ability to connect to the internet is a given, regardless of where you live. I encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to take part in the consultation, so that we can gauge the views of the public on these important proposals.”
Notes to editors
- Gigabit broadband refers to speeds of 1Gbps (one gigabit per second) or faster. A gigabit is equivalent to 1,000Mbps (one thousand megabits per second).
- The Digital Strategy for Wales may be found here [HTML]
- The Programme for Government may be found here [PDF]
- Information relating to the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) may be found here [Web]
- Currently there are no requirements in law for new build homes relating to gigabit-ready physical infrastructure or gigabit-capable connections.
The proposal will require developers ensure new build homes have gigabit-capable connections through the installation of:
- the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections (consisting of infrastructure including ducts, chambers and termination points) up to an off-site network distribution point where reasonably practicable; and
- subject to a £2,000 cost cap per dwelling, a gigabit-capable connection (composed of equipment such as an optical fibre cable, other cabling or wiring, or wireless connection that will provide gigabit-capable broadband if such a service were to be provided by an Internet Service Provider).
- Where a developer is unable to meet the second requirement and secure a gigabit-capable connection, for example because the developer costs incurred after any network operator contribution exceed the cost cap or another exemption applies a developer will be required to install the next best technology connections available unless the quote for that installation also exceeds the cost cap.
- In the first instance this should be at least a superfast 30 Mbps connection and failing that:
- a broadband connection in line with the Broadband Universal Service Obligation’s download speed, as set out in the Universal Service Order 2018 (Electronic Communications (Universal Service) (Broadband) Order 2018 – SI 2018/445). This is currently a connection delivering at least 10 Mbps download speed
- Where no connection can be secured without exceeding the cost cap, the first requirement to install gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections will ensure that the new build home is future-proofed and ready for gigabit connectivity unless any further exemption based on the remoteness of the property is appropriate.
- In the absence of a broadband connection in line with a Broadband Universal Service Obligation connection, a consumer will normally be able to make a request for a Universal Service Obligation connection or apply to the Access Broadband Cymru grant scheme in Wales.