The UK government has taken a break from getting relentlessly owned on its own Discord server to actually do some lawmaking. Announced last Friday, new amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 mean that new homes built in England “will be fitted with infrastructure and connections capable of delivering gigabit broadband,” with the aim of letting owners avoid costly and lengthy installations and allowing tenants to max out their internet speeds without having to hound unresponsive landlords. Not that I’m bitter from personal experience or anything.
Connection costs will be capped at £2000 (around $2400) for property developers. If a developer building a new property is unable to secure a gigabit-ready connection at or below that price, they’ll have to install the next-fastest connection available, and will still have to install the necessary infrastructure—like ducts, chambers and termination points—for the property to handle a gigabit connection in future.
New homes in England must now be built with #GigabitBroadband connectionsNew laws mean home buyers, renters, and some leaseholders will be able to get lightning-fast connections, holding landlords accountable Read more 👇https://t.co/nHQIAhntJu pic.twitter.com/UvNNFWeCpxJanuary 6, 2023
The government estimates that over 98% of premises will fall within that cost cap, though, boasting that “moving into a new build property without lightning-fast internet speeds will become a thing of the past for the vast majority of people across England”.
That’s just England, mind you. The other countries of the United Kingdom—Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—aren’t included in this high-speed digital bonanza. Building regulations like these are a devolved matter in UK governance, meaning that unless the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments pass their own, similar amendments, they’ll have to deal with a truly staggering amount of smugness from English people (even more than usual) rocking gigabit internet connections.
Well, some English people, anyway. The fact of the matter is that England has been dreadful at building new houses for a long time now, so how many people really get to take advantage of these gigabit-equipped new homes remains to be seen.
There’s some good news for those of us who won’t be living in new-build homes anytime soon, though. The second part of the government’s announcement was dedicated to the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 (TILPA), which now allows people living in flats in England and Wales to get access to high-speed internet installations even if their landlord can’t be bothered to answer an email.
Before, people living in blocks of flats needed to obtain their landlord’s permission to get connection upgrades installed, leaving tenants who couldn’t get ahold of their property owners in limbo. But now, if landlords fail to respond to requests for access for 35 days, broadband providers in England and Wales can seek access via the courts. The government reckons an extra 2,100 residential buildings will be connected each year thanks to that change.