LGA: Housebuilders must be responsible for broadband connection

April 5, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
LGA: Housebuilders must be responsible for broadband connection

Housing developers must adopt council proposals for a new Fibre to the Premises Kitemark to reassure homebuyers before completion that their new home will have a broadband connection fit for the 21st century, the LGA says.

Currently, developers only have an obligation to connect water and electricity before a property is sold, but do not have to pay any consideration to its broadband connectivity.

With a digital connection now widely seen as an everyday essential alongside traditional utilities, it is vital home owners know what to expect when they buy a newly built property.

Fibre to the Premises connectivity (also known as FTTP), where optical fibre is run all the way through to the premises, typically provides download speeds up to 1Gbps as well as very high upload speeds.

New analysis by thinkbroadband estimates that only 32% of properties built in rural England in 2017 are connected by FTTP broadband. 17% of 2017 rural new builds are unable to achieve the government’s broadband universal service obligation’s minimum download speed of 10Mbps and upload speed of 1Mbps which it aims to deliver by 2020.

While the government’s new draft of the National Planning Policy Framework aims to help councils’ encourage developers to provide FTTP connections to existing and new developments it does not give them powers to hold developers to account.

The LGA said introducing a new FTTP Kitemark is a simple, common-sense proposal which will make it clear to the public whether or not their new home will have a fully future-proofed internet connection.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said, “Connecting our rural residents to future-proofed, fast and reliable broadband is vital to helping them get on in life and benefit from the advantages that decent digital connectivity can bring.

“The standard of digital connectivity we provide to our new build homes should reflect our national ambition to roll out world-class digital infrastructure across the country. Residents will no longer tolerate digital connectivity taking a backseat in developers’ plans.

“We call on the government, homebuilders and the broadband industry to work with us and develop the details of this proposal and give homebuyers the confidence to invest in a new home, knowing they won’t be stuck in the digital slow lane.”

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