The Welsh government has announced that new homes funded by the Welsh government, such as social housing, will now be required to be gigabit broadband “ready”.
The “Welsh Development Quality Requirements” were first released in 2006 and set out the standards for new build homes funded by the Welsh Government.
The 2021 update to these requirements has come with several changes, which also include moving away from fossil fuels for hot water and heating systems, as well as low carbon designs for homes.
The new rules will come into force from the start of October this year.
The updated document stipulates that properties must be “gigabit ready”, with either a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband connection, or “gigabit wireless” connectivity. There must also be a “choice of internet service providers”.
The new requirements state that infrastructure to facilitate future installation must be in place if such connectivity isn’t already in place. However, this has already been required via EU law for many years now.
In 2016, an EU directive, which has since been enacted in UK law, stated that all newly constructed buildings must be “equipped with a high-speed-ready in-building physical infrastructure, up to the network termination points”. However, developers and ISPs still get to choose whether to deploy a working service or not.
The Welsh government said in a statement: “These changes, along with a recognition of the need to consider space for home working, are in direct response to the pandemic, which saw much of the country needing to learn and work from home.
“This is not only intended to boost wellbeing and keep communities together, but to respond to the changing needs of residents, for example ample floor space to ensure adaptations for older and disabled people can be facilitated.
“Modern methods of construction, such as the use of timber and factory-built homes are also championed in the new guidelines.”
The UK government is currently preparing new regulations which will make it mandatory for new builds to support future-proof gigabit-capable connections. However, as building regulations are devolved, these new rules will only apply to new buildings in England.
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