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In high tech Britain, new homes still being built with ultra-slow broadband

One in five new-builds only has access to slowest technology, according to survey by Broadband Genie.

Richard Reed

A “significant” number of new homes are still being build with internet access that is “barely fit for purpose”, according to a broadband comparison site.

Broadband Genie examined 3,044 postcodes for new-build properties registered between July 2019 and April 2020 to see what kind of fixed-line broadband was available.

Traditional ADSL broadband is slow by modern standards, with an average speed in the region of just 10Mb per second.

Broadband Genie says almost everyone should now be getting access to FTTC fibre – where high speed fibre runs to the roadside cabinet, but the connection to the house is still copper phone wires – with average speeds of roughly 65Mb.

New technology

New technology such as G.fast tweaks the signal through the copper wires and is capable of offering speeds of up to 300Mb, though it is only available to homes within roughly 500 metres of cabinet.

Traditionally, cable companies such as Virgin Media have also used fibre technology, but the connection to the home was via co-axial cable rather than phone wires, offering speeds of up to 350Mb.

The holy grail is fibre direct to the home – known as FTTH or FTTP – which in theory can offer speeds of 1Gb per second.

The Broadband Genie survey found that only just over half (57%) of new-build homes were getting FTTP, while only 8% were connected to Virgin Media.

Slowest technology

Even worse, roughly one in five new-build homes (19%) were restricted to ADSL, the oldest and slowest technology of all.

The government is planning to put new regulations in place next year which will mean that developers are legally required to install high-quality digital infrastructure from the outset and ensure broadband companies are on board before the first brick is laid.

However the move is too late for the many thousands of new-build home-owners and businesses that could have benefited had such measures being introduced sooner.

Liam McAvoy, senior director of business development at full-fibre ISP Hyperoptic, said: “It is unacceptable that one five new build homes is being built without access to full fibre.

“It makes no sense to build a property and only provide the building with access to yesterday’s technology that isn’t future-proofed and can’t scale with bandwidth demands.

“Full-fibre connectivity should now be an essential component of the build process. It’s time that the industry gets up to speed on having full fibre installed in a new build, from day one.”

September 28, 2020

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