We’re making great progress on our mission to roll out Full Fibre broadband to 25 million premises, but it’s not always easy.
No two premises are the same, and geographical and structural challenges often get in the way. But, fortunately we love a challenge, and with determination and a lot of expertise, we’re usually able to overcome them.
However, these aren’t the only barriers to our work. In fact, there’s a much bigger issue, and this one isn’t something we can engineer our way out of.
Across the UK there are more than 800,000 Multi Dwelling Units, or flats as they’re more commonly known, that we can’t access.
Although the law allows us into these properties to fix copper network problems, if we want to upgrade the network to Full Fibre we need an entirely separate permission from the landlord.
The trouble is, this can be hard to get, especially in the case of small buildings with less than 31 flats, which are often owned by individuals or inactive companies.
It’s an issue that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Government. In 2021 they tried to provide a workaround in the form of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Leasehold Property Act, which permits access if landlords have not responded to multiple requests.
But it requires slow court processes, doesn’t help if, as is often the case, we don’t know who the owner, and is only a temporary measure, expiring after 18 months at which point the landlord could remove what we’ve installed.
Plus, it’s costly. When we trialled using the new legislation to access small properties in Scotland, it cost a whopping 2.5 times our usual budget.
Clearly, this ‘workaround’ is no solution. We can’t keep waiting for permissions and visiting properties multiple times, racking up inflated costs, as every penny over-budget eats into our funds for connecting other homes and businesses.
Every moment this issue continues, the number of unreachable premises, and people affected, grows.
These people are missing out on the ultra fast and reliable connection that 21st Century life increasingly demands, impacting everything from making video calls and streaming to accessing vital public services.
That’s not a situation we’re happy to sit by and let continue. So what’s the solution?
To get the UK connected and ready for the future, we need a change in law that grants us automatic upgrade rights, so that we can install Full Fibre broadband in communal areas of flats that already have a copper-based connection without the landlord’s permission.
With our network installed, not only will more tenants be able to get a connection that’s fit for the future, they’ll be able to choose from over 680 providers, giving them the freedom to select a package that suits their budget. That’s a bigger choice than any other network in the UK.
It’s a broadband no brainer, but we can’t do it alone.
If you believe that future-proofed broadband should be for all and not just for those in houses, we need your support.
As a reserved matter, and a challenge facing the whole of the United Kingdom, we're hoping to see the change in law made nationally, so we’re keen to talk to both regional and national leaders.
To find out more, including how your constituents are impacted, or to lend your voice to our cause, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.