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February 5, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:31pm

Buying a house? New builds to get Openreach fibre broadband in Government plan

News: Scheme will see some developers getting free broadband for their new homes.

By Alexander Sword

New build homes in the UK will be fitted out with fibre broadband as part of a new initiative from the Government, Openreach and the Home Builders Federation.

The scheme sees new developments being presented with the connectivity either free or as part of a co-funded initiative.

An online planning tool will allow homebuilders to find out whether properties in a development can be connected for free or if the developer needs to contribute. Over half of the new properties will be eligible to receive broadband without charge to the developer.

Openreach will provide a rate card detailing the fixed cost contributions required from the homebuilders. However, the broadband provider is expected to make a significant contribution when connecting a house.

HBF will promote the offer amongst its members and provide guidance on planning for connectivity early in the development.

The UK has adopted an EU directive stating that every new home must be high-speed ready by 1 January 2017.

Last month, Labour MP Chi Onwurah, the shadow digital minister lambasted the Government over its record on connecting new developments.

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She told Cable.co.uk it was "incomprehensible" that new homes were built without the connectivity and said that it was a "huge opportunity to get it right…with fibre."

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "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."

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said that the move would "give developers greater clarity, choice and more funding.

"Today’s announcement underlines Openreach’s commitment to further extend its fibre network – which reaches more than 24m premises – to benefit even more communities across the country."

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