The Government has brokered a deal between BT Openreach and The Home Builders Federation (HBF) which means “new build homes [are] to have superfast broadband connectivity”. This is a tad optimistic as there is no legal compulsion for house builders to comply with the new arrangement.
BT Openreach is making easier for housebuilders to work out how much it will cost them to connect new residential properties to fibre broadband.
The company has devised an online rate card which will enable the builders to see if their developments are to be connected for free or how much they will have stump up.
More than half of new builds can be hooked up for free, the Government says. Sounds good – and a house builder who does not hook their developments up to fibre broadband for free is a daft house builder indeed.
But what about the "less than half"? In such cases, BT Openreach is to “make a significant contribution itself before seeking any funds from developers”.
The Government dubs this a co-funding offer and at first sight, this appears to represent a significant advance on the disorderly market of today. But is unclear how much is on offer and for how long it is on offer.
But how likely are house builders to play ball, especially in lower-priced, lower margin starter homes?
New owners may expect fast broadband but do not exactly have the whip hand in negotiations. This is evident from the plight of "hundreds ... of new-build residents who are either stuck with extremely slow broadband or no broadband connection at all," chronicled by Cable.co.uk, a consumer advice site. ®