DCMS secures operator commitments for gigabit rollouts in new builds

19 Jun 2020

Commitments from British network operators to work with housing developers to provide gigabit-capable connectivity to all new build developments across the UK have been secured by the government, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has announced.

According to the government department, among the commitments made by telcos are that they will: contribute a minimum amount to the cost of connection, that will be at least GBP500 (USD624) and in some cases as high as GBP1,400; and work with developers to ensure premises which cannot be provided with a gigabit-capable connection within the above overall cost envelope can be connected with the next best technology that could be provided within the cap.

Meanwhile, BT’s infrastructure unit Openreach is reported to have agreed to specific commitments, the first of which is the publication of a new price structure that reduces the costs developers pay for connecting two-premise developments – from GBP3,100 to GBP2,000 – bringing all developments of two premises or more within the proposed cost cap. Further, Openreach has also publicly committed to connect all new build developments with more than 20 premises for free; currently it only offers free connection for builds comprising 30 premises or more.

According to the DCMS, these commitments, alongside amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 that require all new build developments to have gigabit broadband outlined in the consultation response, will ensure that 99% of all new homes in the UK will be able to be built with gigabit-capable broadband. Meanwhile, the government is said to have had ‘initial and positive discussions’ on similar commitments with smaller network operators and it aims to formalise more commitments and publish them in advance of the aforementioned legislation coming into force.