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UK Govt – DCMS Announcement 17 March 2020: New-build homes to come gigabit-speed ready

Comment from Mikael Sandberg, Chairman at VX Fiber:

We applaud this initiative by the Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, for all new-build homes to come with gigabit-speed broadband. It’s been a long time coming, and still has some way to go, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.  And, as the industry has been saying for a long time, it makes much more sense – both financially, feasibly and practically – to install full-fibre at the build stage rather than retro fitting.

We’ve always said it’s a no brainer to future proof new builds with full-fibre – the demand among residential users for high-speed, high capacity broadband is growing rapidly, with no signs of slowing down. In addition to this, an increasing number of specifications for new builds include “baked-in” smart home.  Whether that’s as simple as a few smart switches in the wall, to a full home system covering security, heating, entertainment, work and play, the one thing that can stop a smart home in its tracks is unreliable internet.  Without it, a smart home is just not that smart. It’s important to be able to offer residents the type of “mod cons” of today that are fast turning into the essentials of tomorrow – which makes a tangible difference to the value of the finished property, as well as the happiness of those who make it their home.

However, we do hope that [additional] legislation allows for equal access to such fibre for all Service Providers. Facilitating an ‘Open Access’ model i.e. granting multiple Service Providers access to wholesale services in the local access network, will enable more suppliers to reach the subscriber without the need to deploy a new fibre access network. And aside from lowering the costs for Service Providers, Open Access can deliver what end-users want: choice of providers, choice of services, competitive pricing and high performance.

In addition, we would suggest that Developers consider making the investment in full fibre themselves and not taking the “contribution” from one single operator. By retaining ownership of the fibre – a valuable asset – and choosing to lease it out, they will make much more money in the long-term.   If however, Developers do not want to invest in and own the fibre, VX Fiber can contribute £500 up to £2,000 depending on the specific situation.

Government Press Release