Ministers believe new-builds 'should have super-fast broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Councils in England should make sure all new-build properties have access to super-fast broadband, to avoid tenants having to struggle with poor connectivity, according to two government ministers.

In an open letter to council leaders across the country, digital economy minister Ed Vaizey and housing minister Brandon Lewis outline their view that high-quality and fast internet access is essential for sustainable growth in the UK.

Currently, the government has a plan to roll out super-fast speeds to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017, which is being delivered through 47 local projects and a £1.7 billion investment in the country's broadband infrastructure.

Under the scheme, it intends to provide a service of at least 24 Mbps, while also ensuring every household and business in the country can access a speed of no less than 2 Mbps by the end of this year.

In the letter, Mr Vaizey and Mr Lewis note: "As council leaders, you have a crucial role to play in supporting this ambitious target through your local plans and, when considering planning applications, to ensure wherever possible commercial and residential new builds are able to access super-fast broadband.

“The policy on this is set out in section five of the National Planning Policy Framework and as such is a material consideration when determining planning applications.”

While some councils have already implemented policies that require new-build houses to have access to super-fast broadband, this isn't the same across the UK, with many people living in new homes struggling with snail-paced speeds.  

Following a motion put forward by councillor Roger Whyborn earlier this year, all new homes in Cheltenham will be able to take advantage of the improved service. The council made a change to its planning process, which requires developers to commit to providing connections for super-fast broadband as part of the planning permission process.

Mr Vaizey and Mr Lewis want to see this policy change become standard across the UK to ensure that those moving into recently constructed homes can enjoy the benefits of fast internet speeds.