A technical consultation on offering all new homes access to high-speed wi-fi has been announced by the government.

Currently, more than two-thirds of premises have access to gigabit-capable networks, up from one in ten back in 2019 with the government aiming for a minimum of 85 per cent.

Media, data and digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez said: “There are still a significant number of house buyers who miss out on getting the best connectivity in their new homes and therefore the huge benefits that this brings.”

The government hopes its proposals for new build homes in England will ensure no community is left behind.

Builders will have to offer a gigabit-capable connection in all new homes subject to a £2000 cap per dwelling. This will include optical fibre cables, ducts, chambers and termination points. If such a connection is impossible, then the next fastest broadband connection will need to be installed.

“Fast and reliable broadband will help owners of new homes throughout the country to live and work more flexibly and will help to support social inclusion and growth,” said Ms Lopez.

Smaller developments and conversions face higher costs

Currently, new build homes without full-fibre, or gigabit connectivity, are mostly developments of less than 30 units as the cost for internet operators to expand the core network is pricy.

The new requirements will include mixed-use schemes, conversions of commercial or disused industrial buildings or houses converted into multiple dwellings.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said conversions accounted for a major element of SME builders work and the new proposals would increase their costs and potentially the need for instant bridging finance.

The consultation will close on 28 February 2022 with legislative amendments to part R of building regulations 2010 happening as soon as parliamentary time allows.

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