Technology

New homes to get superfast broadband

Barratt Homes development Image copyright Barratt Homes
Image caption People moving into a new home might assume excellent communication as standard but often this is not the case, according to a recent investigation.

The government has struck a deal between BT-owned Openreach and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) which aims to deliver superfast broadband to all newly built homes.

BT said more than half of new homes would now be connected free of charge, with the rest co-funded by developers.

It follows criticism about a backlog of properties waiting for broadband services.

The government said that it would monitor progress over the next year.

"Broadband connectivity is just one thing that home buyers now expect when buying a new build, so this industry-led push to make superfast, or indeed ultrafast, broadband speeds available by default in new homes represents a very important step in meeting the UK's digital needs," said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.

Chief executive of Openreach, Clive Selley, said: "This is an important step towards bringing fibre broadband to as many new build properties as possible."

Meanwhile Stewart Baseley, the executive chairman of the HBF, said the deal would "see more new build purchasers benefit from the very best connectivity to go alongside the many other advantages of purchasing a brand new home".

'Persistent failure'

Many residents moving into newly built homes have found broadband services slow or non-existent, it was revealed in a report from broadband advice site Cable.co.uk last month.

Last year, the HBF blamed Openreach for a "persistent failure" to connect newly built homes "in a timely fashion", although it added that relationships had improved in recent months.

Some of the problems come down to poor co-ordination between developers who are starting new building projects and Openreach.

BT has also been accused of overcharging for fibre connections.

One resident of a newly built home told Cable.co.uk that Openreach had quoted him a price of £20,000 to get a new cabinet and fibre delivered to his estate.

Telecoms expert at Cable Dan Howdle said the new measures were "arbitrary and unlikely to have any effect".

"Thousands of homes up and down the UK have been built or are being built with unfit broadband connectivity," he said."

"Cable.co.uk has received countless complaints from new build homebuyers over the past twelve months.

"They are still pouring in, and the government's answer to them in this instance is wholly inadequate," he added.

Under the new deal, BT said that it would make a "significant contribution" to broadband connections before seeking money from developers.

It has also launched an online planning tool for homebuilders.

That will tell them whether properties in a given area can be connected to fibre for free, or if a contribution is needed from the developer.

Related Topics

More on this story