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The Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething and the Minister for Climate Change Julie James have announced a consultation into proposals to require housing developers to ensure all new build houses be equipped with gigabit broadband capability.

First published:
3 February 2023
Last updated:

Digital connectivity is increasingly important to people across Wales to keep in touch with friends and family, work from home or access public services. When new homes are built, we want to make sure that connectivity is consistent and future proof. The Welsh Government has therefore committed, through its Programme for Government and the Digital Strategy for Wales, to upgrade our digital and communications infrastructure.

The proposals outlined in this consultation will amend building regulations to require developers to ensure that:

  • all new build homes are installed with the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections
  • a gigabit-capable connection is installed in a new build home subject to a £2,000 cost cap per dwelling
  • or where a gigabit-capable connection is not being installed, the next fastest broadband connection is installed without exceeding the £2,000 cost cap.

Fast and reliable digital connectivity meets many of the goals under the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. Fast and reliable broadband in new homes supports a Wales of cohesive communities by helping people stay in touch with each other reducing social isolation and supporting access to public services. It also delivers against a more equal Wales by enabling access to educational opportunities and civic participation online.

This proposal also supports the objectives of the Welsh Government’s national framework for development, Future Wales. This framework includes the objective to support the provision of digital communications infrastructure and services across the country.

This “gigabit capability” proposal will for the most part be fibre and will require developers to install underground ducting to enable connections to be made to buildings.

The consultation announced today will close on the 28 of April 2023, followed by the publication of responses and subsequently legislation being laid before the Senedd.

The proposed new requirements are designed to align with current housing development practices. This will ensure that all developers are taking the necessary steps to equip new build homes with gigabit-ready infrastructure and gigabit-capable connections whilst minimising burdens.

The new regulations will require each dwelling (including each individual dwelling in multi-dwelling buildings) to be equipped with the required infrastructure to support at least one gigabit-capable connection. This includes in-building and exterior infrastructure located anywhere within the site such as in the footpath, driveway or common area leading from the building.

Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething said:

Access to fast and reliable broadband is an essential utility. It enables access to lifelong learning opportunities and public services, tackles social isolation, enables flexible home working and brings people together to tackle local and global issues. The pandemic has also undoubtedly brought the need for good future-proofed connectivity into sharper focus.

“The proposals we are consulting on will help us go further and faster to make our homes fit for the future. I urge individuals, businesses, charities and everyone in between to respond to the consultation and have your say!”

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:

Broadband connectivity is already standard in many developments, but with so many people working from home, it is now essential. By requiring all housing developers to include gigabit broadband capability in their new-builds, these proposals will help ensure the ability to connect to the internet is a given, regardless of where you live. I encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to take part in the consultation, so that we can gauge the views of the public on these important proposals.”