Online estate agents Tepilo take a closer look at the government’s plans for full fibre networks to be mandatory in new build homes.
Why new build homes need to be connected to fibre networks
New build homes are typically seen as most attractive to young, tech-savvy buyers who want a property to match their modern, very 21st century lifestyles.
As such, new builds are often linked in people’s minds to contemporary décor, stylish fixtures and fittings, good levels of energy efficiency and fast, effective broadband speeds.
However, in some cases connectivity to new build homes is not as good as it should be, with the majority of developments being supplied with connections which are at least part-copper.
Now the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wants mandatory full fibre broadband for all new build homes, while also heralding the end of copper and increasing access to innovative 5G services.
Full fibre Britain
As part of its national, long-term UK telecommunications strategy, the government aims to connect 15 million premises to full fibre broadband by 2025, before providing full fibre broadband coverage to the whole of the UK by 2033. Full fibre infrastructure being in place is vital if the government’s eventual plans to give the majority of the population access to 5G coverage are to bear fruit.
The plan, moving forward, is to promote a quicker rollout of fibre, eventually leading to a full switchover from copper to fibre. Large investment in fixed and wireless networks is vital, the government says, if Britain is to compete in an increasingly digital world.
According to Jeremy Wright, DCMS Secretary of State, the proposals for world-class digital infrastructure are directly aligned with substantially increasing the nation’s housing stock. In other words, new homes should be built with full fibre connectivity in mind wherever possible.
The government is committed to building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s – although many have criticised this for being too ambitious. Still, the government says it is determined to both increase the number of new homes in the UK and to make them fully connected to next-generation fibre networks.
“We are proposing new legislation to ensure all new build developments where appropriate are connected with full fibre which offers choice at the retail level for homeowners,” Wright said. “We will look at what can be done through existing legislation, for example building regulations, or whether new legislation may be required.”
New legislation needed
The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FITR), which is part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, also suggested that full-fibre broadband networks will only reach three-quarters of the population at most unless there is a radical change in policy.
Unless a new approach is adopted, it could take a further twenty years for full fibre coverage to be achieved. Ministers have now called for new legislation guaranteeing full-fibre connectivity to new-build developments – which, in future, will be vital for underpinning 5G coverage.
Currently, a measly 4% of the country is connected to ‘fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP)’. This is in comparison to 99% in South Korea and 97% in Japan. It’s no wonder, then, that the government is keen for the UK to play catch-up, with policies to make full-fibre broadband mandatory in new-build developments and to achieve full UK coverage by 2033.
The rollout of full fibre across Britain is expected to cost £30 billion, but the government believes costs could be slashed if infrastructure providers such as Openreach are forced to share their physical infrastructure.
One of the FITR's recommendations is for 'Ofcom to reform regulation, allowing unrestricted access to Openreach ducts and poles for both residential and business use, including essential mobile infrastructure'.
Will this be good for sellers?
If full-fibre broadband and 5G networks can be rolled out across Britain, as per the government’s plans, then this will be of benefit to sellers across the country. In this day and age, good internet access is a key selling point – especially for young professionals, social media enthusiasts, Netflix bingers and those who work or run their businesses from home.
Rural areas have typically been left lagging behind urban locations when it comes to internet access, and a nationwide rollout of fibre broadband should help to solve this. There are also random broadband blackspots throughout the country which could be impacting on the ability of sellers to sell.
We recently looked at the top property turn-offs for buyers, which found that 53% of buyers would be deterred by homes in broadband blackspots. If such blackspots could be made a thing of the past, sellers will have no worries about buyers being put off.
Poor web connectivity was also outlined as one of the primary reasons for unutilised space in a home, according to recent research by TalkTalk. Some 63% of those surveyed said they would be more inclined to make use of wasted space in their homes if these areas had stronger Wi-Fi signal, while 96% said internet connectivity was important to them. What's more, a quarter of those polled said they would be willing to pay around £12,000 more for a property with no Wi-Fi blackspots.
Put simply, fast, reliable broadband is likely to improve your chances of selling, so homeowners across the country should be cautiously optimistic about the government’s bold plans. However, to ensure the rollout happens quickly, new legislation is likely to be needed to speed everything up and allow Britain to catch up with other parts of the world.