Tens of thousands more new-build homes could be in line for a broadband boost after Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, is to reduce the price it charges developers for its future-proof Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology by more than three quarters.
The new pricing means UK house builders will pay just a fraction of the current costs if they ask Openreach to build faster, more reliable FTTP technology to their new homes on small-scale developments – those with fewer than 30 premises.
Openreach will offer a revised rate card for developers – enabling them to upgrade broadband connectivity for these smaller new developments – by paying a set contribution for the size of the site that is more than 75 per cent less, on average, on the current contribution of c£25,000 per site.
The launch of the new scheme on November 1st comes as the Government plans to consult with developers and network infrastructure providers across the UK this autumn – with the intention of making full fibre broadband infrastructure mandatory for all new build sites.
More than 40,000 new homes across 5,000 small housing developments per annum could stand to benefit from being upgraded to the cutting edge technology – which provides a faster, more stable service that’s ideal for families, home workers and small businesses.
The new low cost initiative builds on Openreach’s existing offer to install FTTP free of charge to all new housing developments of 30 or more homes. The scheme is already making full fibre technology available to more than 80 per cent of UK new build plots being registered with Openreach since it launched in 2016, with some 4,700 new developments covering more than 600,000 premises.
“Our existing offer already provides huge benefits to both buyers and builders alike, but we wanted to go further and make sure everybody moving into a new build property can enjoy the advantages of Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband,” explained Kim Mears, MD Strategic Infrastructure Development.
“The UK’s is a world leader in digital infrastructure and services today, but as the digital revolution continues at an ever increasing pace, and our demand for data grows, we need to make sure this country stays ahead of the curve by building fast, reliable networks that cater for all the activities we’ll want to do online in the decades ahead.”
“Our new offer provides a low-cost option to house-builders and we hope it will help encourage the adoption of this future-proof technology across smaller developments so that no-one’s left behind.”
“We fully support the government’s intention to make full fibre broadband mandatory on all new builds and we’re working closely with DCMS (Dept for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) and house-builders on how best to deliver this.”
“We’re building a Britain that’s fit for the future, and recently announced our plans for a national full fibre broadband network,” advised Minister for Digital Margot James. “Ensuring all new developments, large or small, can access full fibre technology will be instrumental in delivering this, and we welcome Openreach’s plans to reduce costs to developers by 75 per cent.”
“We are committed to working with service providers such that we can deliver the high-speed, future-proofed broadband that homeowners are looking for,” confirmed Craig Ferrans, Technical Director for the Home Builders Federation.
According to a recent London School of Economics study of British home-buyers, a good broadband connection now tops off-street parking and access to local amenities as one of the vital deciding factors for people buying a new house. The study also finds that one in ten buyers have walked away from properties with poor Internet connection and that broadband is generally connected even before gas. Home owners in London are willing to pay up to 3 per cent above the market price for properties in areas offering very fast broadband speeds.
Providing full fibre to new homes is an important part of Openreach’s commitment to invest in faster, more reliable broadband technology through its new ‘Fibre First’ strategy. The company aims to roll-out full fibre broadband to 3 million households by the end of 2020/21, and wants to reach 10 million by the middle of the next decade if the right conditions are in place.