Although the Advantage team works with many developers who have been future-proofing their properties by offering fibre broadband for years, some modern apartment blocks are still lagging behind in terms of connectivity.
This week we read that the Government is seeking to tackle the issue with new proposals which will help bring full-fibre to apartment blocks and other multi-tenant buildings.
Writing for Broadband Deals, Samuel Newman explained: At the moment, internet service providers (ISPs) can have a very difficult time building new connections in apartment blocks. Landlords for these buildings can be hard to contact or identify, and many don’t respond to access requests.
Providers obviously need permission from landowners before they start making holes and laying cables. Whether it’s a trench through a farmer’s field, or some pipe in a wall, securing the necessary rights is often harder than the work itself.
Extra difficulties show up when trying to work on large, multi-tenant buildings. Landlords, especially for London apartments, might not even be living in the UK.
Openreach struggles to reach a huge 80% of premises within London.
The Government’s proposed changes will legally oblige landlords to allow new broadband builds when they’re requested by tenants.
Landlords can still challenge these builds, but tenants and ISPs will have a big advantage in case of any conflict.
Of course, the main issue isn’t stubborn landlords that won’t adapt, but landlords that don’t respond in the first place.
ISPs will be able to use orders from Magistrates Courts to gain access to buildings when landlords don’t respond. The new process would only take a few weeks to resolve, and costs around £300 in court fees.
There are procedures already in place to work around absent landlords, but these can take months to complete and cost as much as £14,000. Unsurprisingly, many ISPs don’t even bother trying through the current system.
Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media said:
“This new law is something Virgin Media has long called for – it breaks through a major broadband barrier… clear and efficient access rights will mean the many forgotten flats across the country can get the next-generation connectivity they deserve.”
The Government is seeking more consultation before the proposals are finalised and start to move towards legislation and as Samuel Newman pointed out: With more than 450,000 apartment blocks in the UK, these steps could go a long way towards nationwide gigabit broadband by 2025.
Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Faster broadband boosts productivity and makes people’s lives easier at home and at work. That is why we are connecting more residential buildings to the fastest internet, while also ensuring the most rural areas benefit from this technology through our £5.5bn high-speed broadband funding.”
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association said:
“We recognise how important it is that tenants should have access to high speed broadband. It is in a landlord’s interests to be able to offer it as it makes their properties more attractive to prospective tenants.
“The RLA will work constructively with the Government to ensure that any difficulties in implementing enhanced access rights are addressed such as broadband companies ensuring they have the right contact details for a landlord.”
Thank you for reading! We’ll be back with more construction-related news soon.