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All New Berkeley UK Homes to be Fibre Optic Broadband Compatible

Monday, June 9th, 2014 (7:47 am) - Score 1,209

Property developer Berkeley Group has become one of the first house builders to announced that it will seek to provide all new homes in the United Kingdom with “fibre optic broadband” infrastructure by 2016.

The announcement, which was made to mark the next phase of Berkeley’s on-going 10 year business plan, also appears intended to coincide with a new European Directive that requires all new buildings (including those undergoing major renovation) to be “high-speedBroadband-Ready after 31st December 2016 (here).

According to Berkeley, customers now “see the Internet as a basic utility” and have the same expectations they apply to water, gas and electricity. The developer also notes Ofcom’s claim that 73% of the UK is currently “fibre accessible” and the government’s target for 95% of homes to have access to superfast broadband (25Mbps+) by 2017.

Alongside the broadband commitment Berkeley has also outlined plans for a £2 million innovation fund to improve safety on site, a 50% increase in apprenticeships and training, an aim to achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings than Apple ™ and they also intend to introduce a “UK first” marketing policy (i.e. new homes will now be marketed domestically first).

Rob Perrins, Berkeley Group Managing Director, said:

These commitments are designed to lead and challenge the market. We need to make new housing so good it’s a vote-winner.”

However it’s interesting to note that Berkeley chose to quote Ofcom’s 73% “fibre accessible” figure, which might suggest that the group doesn’t differentiate between ultrafast fibre optic (FTTH/P/B) connections and those of their slower mass-market hybrid-fibre competitors (FTTC etc.).

At this point it’s also worth considering that a lot of new builds take place outside of already well-developed urban areas, which means that Berkeley will still have to ensure that they don’t do as some developers have done and only support basic ADSL connectivity. Never the less it looks like BT will be doing most of the leg work via FTTC and so Berkeley’s commitment shouldn’t be too tough to keep, especially if they’re happy with hybrid-fibre.

Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

    Makes sense. The first of many such announcements by house builders?

    1. Avatar PeterM says:

      I’d have thought so, at least in the price bracket they seem to be asking, and a few others in the “luxury” category will do the same, because there has been some “egg on face” when someone spending a few million for a property feels let down by ADSL. See The Grauniad article: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/06/wealthy-stranded-digital-expensive-properties-lack-fast-internet-uk

  2. Avatar adslmax says:

    All new builds should have FTTP!

  3. Avatar John Popham says:

    I imagine house-builders will require the majority of components in any new-build to have a long life. Thus it would be very short-sighted only to allow for FTTC connectivity which will have outlived its useful life within a few years.

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      If their new build homes are anything like the ones I’ve lived in – I’m not entirely sure it’s accurate to say that the things are meant to last a long time 😉

      If they’re restricting themselves to VDSL and are able to call that “fibre” then I wonder if they realise that they may have inadvertently restricted their possible build sites enormously to locations extremely near to the phone cabinets.

      But then perhaps they will have the common sense to work with someone to put the ducting in and go out to market with a tender – I seem to recall something along these lines in the last few weeks, where, in that case, the developer selected an alt-net to supply fibre.

  4. Avatar FibreFred says:

    But what does fibre compatible actually mean?

    Adequate ducting? I expect it should have that anyway?

  5. Avatar TheFacts says:

    BT has had new build guidelines for years.

    1. Avatar dragoneast says:

      Exactly. So the Developers have just caught on that they can use it as part of their marketing. And of course, everyone is taken in; because we all believe what we want to believe!

  6. Avatar finaldest says:

    FTTC is not FTTH though is it.

    So all these new builds will still incorporate a twisted copper pair and therefore nothing has changed. It would have been easier just to say that they are to work with BT to provide FTTC where possible but this would not be a headline grabber though would it.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      Actually, I know of a town in our area where there is a new housing estate development underway, for which the local council only gave the go ahead under the provisio that the builder installs genuine fibre broadband, not twisted pair VDSL copper. This is interesting because the town itself doesn’t even have any VDSL, let alone fibre broadband, nor any BDUK plans. The developers probably will have to install a long-distance micro-wave transmitter/receiver link and feed it into the estate’s fibre-optic network, or use a leased-line backbone by a non-BT provider.

  7. Avatar fastman2 says:

    Gnewton so the residents of that development will have no CP’s choice and be a in take it or leavel it scenario

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      I am not sure, as far as I remember the council also requires it to be an open access network. Whether other bigger ISPs will make use of it or not, I don’t know.

    2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      I guess it’s tricky.

      I’d prefer more options than a series of services based on the same Openreach products with the only real differences being value-adds I don’t use but obviously people’s mileage can and will vary.

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