What plans does the Welsh Government have to make it mandatory for all new house builds in Wales to have gigabit-capable connections?
Officials are exploring how building regulations could be enhanced to ensure that all new homes in Wales can benefit from gigabit capable broadband. Work to develop new regulations and associated guidance will continue this year.
In addition, all homes purchased through phase 3 of the Help to Buy Wales scheme must be broadband ready and able to provide broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps. The guidance to developers makes clear, however, that the Welsh Government is keen to see the delivery of future proof gigabit capable broadband in keeping with the current and future needs of new home owners.
Further, Welsh Government funds new social housing developments through the Social Housing Grant (SHG) program. Social housing providers must build housing to meet quality standards called the “Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021” “Creating Beautiful Homes and Places” (WDQR 2021). The standard ensures social housing will lead the way in reducing carbon emissions and favours good design. Beyond low carbon targets, the requirements also stipulate new properties to be ‘gigabit ready’, meaning fibre optic broadband or gigabit wireless technology is available, alongside a choice of internet service providers. Where this isn’t in place, infrastructure to enable future installation without disruption must be provided. 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.
The ambition is for private developers to adopt the ‘Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021 - Creating Beautiful Homes and Places’, by 2025.