Just about everybody in the UK today who is preparing to move into a new home would expect it to be as easy to connect the house to broadband as it would be to connect it to the electricity supply. In today's world broadband is as essential a service as water or gas, isn't it?
Surprisingly the buyers of new build housing can still find themselves struggling to get online and now BT Openreach has got together with the Home Builders Federation, signing an agreement, "which aims to deliver superfast broadband connectivity to new build properties in the UK".
The new deal will see fibre-based broadband offered to all new developments either for free or as part of a co-funded initiative. More than half of all new build properties can be connected to fibre broadband free of charge to developers.
As part of the agreement, Openreach is introducing an online planning tool for homebuilders which will tell them whether properties in a given development can be connected to fibre for free, or if a contribution is needed from the developer to jointly fund the deployment of the local fibre network.
Builders will also have access to a 'rate card' from Openreach which details the fixed cost contributions required by homebuilders in those cases where joint funding is required. Openreach will make a "significant contribution itself" before seeking any funds from developers, the government said.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: "We recognise that high speed broadband connectivity is a major factor for homeowners when deciding to buy a house. That's why we're offering to deliver fibre to all new build developments either for free or as a co-funded model."
Not everyone is impressed. Dan Howdle a broadband and TV expert at Cable.co.uk said that his site had received, "countless complaints from new-build homebuyers over the past twelve months [and] they are still pouring in".
The "government's answer to them in this instance is wholly inadequate", he said.
"What is the purpose of a network provider making it easier for developers to install proper broadband infrastructure if it still remains the homebuilder's choice as to whether or not to take action?"
These measures "are arbitrary and unlikely to have any effect", Howdle warned as they comprise neither legislative enforcement of superfast broadband for new builds, "nor any obligation for homebuilders to inform buyers they face years of broadband misery."
For its part, the government is convinced that high-speed broadband for all is an attainable goal all. Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey said that as part of the government's ambition to build one million new homes over the course of the current parliament, "broadband connectivity is just one thing that home buyers now expect when buying a new build, so this industry-led push to make superfast, or indeed ultrafast broadband speeds available by default in new homes represents a very important step in meeting the UK's digital needs".