Openreach has cut the cost of installing full-fibre, or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), broadband to small-scale property developments of fewer than 30 homes, offering developers revised rates that could, on average, be 75% less than the current contribution of £25,000 per site.
This builds on an existing intitiative run by Openreach to install FTTP free of charge for all developments above a certain size. It first introduced this in March 2016 for developments of more than 250 homes, and has since revised it down to developments of more than 30.
Openreach claims this means it is currently installing FTTP services to 80% of new-build homes, covering more than 600,000 to date.
The new offer for smaller developments means that an additional 40,000 homes across 5,000 sites could stand to benefit from being upgraded to ultrafast, gigabit-capable broadband services in the next 12 months.
“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 FTTP broadband,” said Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director of strategic infrastructure development.
“Our new offer provides a low-cost option to housebuilders and we hope it will help encourage the adoption of this future-proof technology across smaller developments so that no one is left behind.”
Mears said Openreach continued to support the government’s plan to make FTTP a mandatory feature of all new-builds, and was working closely with digital minister Margot James at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on how to achieve this.
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Craig Ferrans, technical director for the Home Builders Federation, which works extensively with a number of network builders besides Openreach, said: “We are committed to working with service providers so that we can deliver the high-speed, future-proofed broadband that homeowners are looking for.”
A 2014 study of British homebuyers, conducted by the London School of Economics, found people now considered a good broadband connection over local amenities and off-street parking when buying a new home, and that up to 10% of buyers had walked away from a property with a sub-standard service.