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Scotland Consult on Gigabit Broadband for All New Build Homes

Wednesday, Sep 20th, 2023 (9:10 am) - Score 1,000
scotland 3d broadband map uk

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on new proposals that closely mirror those recently introduced across England (here and here), which would effectively mandate that property developers ensure their new build homes are constructed with support for gigabit-capable broadband connections.

At present every building and building unit in Scotland must already be designed and constructed in such a way that a “high-speed ready” (30Mbps+) in-building physical infrastructure, up to a network termination point, is provided. In the case of a building which contains more than one building unit, a common access point for high-speed electronic communications networks must be provided.

NOTE: Some 70% of premises in Scotland are currently (H1 2023) already within reach of a gigabit-capable connection (here) and over 98% of new build homes across the UK are already being built with support for full fibre (FTTP) infrastructure (here).

In simple terms, the new consultation goes further than that and outlines proposals to amend the existing Building Regulations to ensure that all new build homes are equipped with gigabit-capable (1Gbps+) infrastructure from the outset, with a connection available subject to a cost cap (£2,000). Failing that, the developer would need to install the “next fastest broadband connection” possible, also within the same cost cap.

However, in cases where a connection cannot be provided within the cost cap (e.g. in some remote rural areas or individual private house builds it might not be economically viable), there will be a requirement to install the passive infrastructure (e.g. cable ducts) required to facilitate a connection at a later date.

Suffice to say that the proposals for Scotland are almost an exact mirror of England’s prior update to the Building Regulations, which didn’t automatically apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland because the related regulations are a devolved matter. As a result, it also suffers from some of the same caveats, which means there will be edge cases of technical and economic infeasibility, where only slower connections may be provided.

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Innovation Minister, said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to providing an efficient and resilient digital infrastructure in Scotland, as set out in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The importance of an effective digital connection has been highlighted during recent years. It enhances the way we work, communicate with friends and family and access vital public services.

A key theme of our digital strategy is ensuring that no one is left behind and that is why we are consulting on these proposals, as we look to transition to a fair, green and growing economy.”

The consultation itself will remain open for responses until 12th December 2023. Subject to the outcome of this consultation, Ministers’ are currently proposing to introduce new requirements via amendment of Building Regulations and supporting guidance in early 2024, before bringing the changes into force later in 2024.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Matt says:

    “there will be a requirement to install the passive infrastructure (e.g. cable ducts) required to facilitate a connection at a later date.”

    IMO Ducts (capable of multiple cable pulls / CSP entry points) should be provided regardless of whatever installation they do.
    They should add a clause that if you’re a housebuilder who setup your own ISP (Persimmon & FibreNest…), they should leave ducting for the incumbent at a minimum so that the regulator can force a “supplier of last resort” style setup to cover if that provider goes belly up.

  2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    The question is if the developer or their nominated supplier installs the network that does that mean that the home owner will be tied to the house builder at whatever they choose to charge for their services? As I understand it the local authority no longer adopts the roads leaving them in the hands of the developer meaning that Openreach or equivalent may not automatically have the right to install their network.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Local authorities are still required to adopt roads (if they’re up to spec). https://brodies.com/insights/living/how-to-get-a-road-adopted/

      If developers are skipping this maybe they’re not building roads up to spec! Or it’s because the developers want to skim off the top, get some profit from annual maintenance fees. Neither would surprise me.

    2. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      Can’t speak for the roads ownership issue, but if an estate has been fully FTTP’d by the developer’s captive ISP, then where’s the economic case for Openreach or Altnets to overbuild? They might, but they might not.

      Where this proposal fails miserably is in not requiring developers to ensure connection to a wholesale network. Well all know what scumbags certain housebuilders are, looking to skim off a little extra at every opportunity in a way that would make even the Thenadiers blush. But as implemented in England and apparently as proposed for Scotland, this offers the thieves another opportunity to line their pocket at the housebuyers expense.

      For any Scottish readers, make sure you respond to this consultation, and be clear that the proposal needs to commit housebuilders to offer gigabit capable connections to a wholesale network, not a single non-competitive and captive provider. Mention the likely discouragement of overbuild and potential absence or limits to competition from captive providers. And encourage anybody you know who has an interest in these matters to do likewise. Public engagement is often exceptionally poor in consultations, but when it is you can’t blame the government for not asking for opinions.

  3. Avatar photo David says:

    As with England and Wales, it seems strange that the Scottish government assumes (and proposes to mandate) that gigabit capable connections can only occur where there is a duct for some kind of cable.

    They are supposed to be technology neutral.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      The proposed standard *is* technology neutral. See the Mandatory Standard section at the top of: https://www.gov.scot/publications/new-build-developments-delivering-gigabit-capable-connections/pages/5/

      The ducting bit is in the proposed guidance, not the proposed standard. That’s fair enough: I’m not aware of any widespread gigabit wireless internet in the UK; if there is, it’s certainly niche.

  4. Avatar photo carlconradw says:

    Surely a no brainier.

  5. Avatar photo Perhotelan says:

    What type of information and resources can users find on the ispreview.co.uk website, and how does it cater to the needs of its audience?

    Telkom University

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