DCMS launches brace of consultations on proposals for boosting gigabit broadband access

30 Oct 2018

The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has launched two consultations related to gigabit connectivity in Britian. The first seeks feedback on proposals that would make it a requirement for developers and operators to provide gigabit-capable connections to all new homes. With the state having set what is has termed an ‘ambitious’ target of making gigabit-capable networks available to 15 million premises by 2025 – ahead of nationwide coverage by 2033 – DCMS is proposing: that developers and network operators should share the cost of connecting new build sites to gigabit-capable networks; that a ‘duty to connect’ provision upon network operators would be introduced; and that Building Regulations Approved Document Part R: (Physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks) is to be amended, meaning so that all new build sites will be built with the necessary infrastructure in place to support gigabit-capable networks.

In its second consultation, meanwhile, DCMS has called for thoughts on proposals which it claims would make it easier for commercial and residential tenants to access ‘high quality and reliable’ broadband connections. As per the government’s plans in this area, is has proposed: amending the Electronic Communications Code to place an obligation on landlords to facilitate the deployment of digital infrastructure when they receive a request from their tenants; and enabling communications providers to use magistrates’ courts to gain entry to properties where a landlord fails to respond to requests for improved or new digital infrastructure.

Submissions to both of the aforementioned consultations are being accepted until 21 December 2018.

In related news, as part of the UK government’s budget which was unveiled yesterday (29 October) it was confirmed that GBP200 million (USD256 million) will be committed from the National Productivity Infrastructure Fund (NPIF) to pilot new approaches to deploying full fibre connectivity to rural locations ‘to ensure no region is left behind when it comes to connectivity’. According to the Financial Times the initial wave of funding is expected to be directed towards primary schools in Cornwall, the border region between England and Scotland, and Wales. Residents, while businesses and residents near these schools are expected to be able to upgrade their broadband connections using the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS).