Inside Housing – Sponsored – Targeting full fiber broadband by 2025: what homeowners need to know
What are the potential challenges associated with passage authorization agreements?
I think that sometimes social landlords wrongly assume that granting a passage authorization agreement amounts to authorizing work to be carried out. It’s not. All the wayleave does is give permission for an investigation. We can only legally begin work if and until an owner has approved the survey and the plan for connecting the building to the fiber optic network. The owner must approve the proposed ârouteâ and only then will we begin the work.
This misunderstanding means, I think, that some owners have moved slowly in this area. At CityFibre, like with other infrastructure providers, we work city by city. When we work in one place, our goal is to connect as many homes as possible before we move on.
There will undoubtedly be places where social landlords have hesitated because they were concerned about the implications of signing a passage permit, believing it to somehow tie them to construction work.
I think there may also be concerns about what the building process entails. It is feared that it will include time-consuming requests for social landlord staff. In the wake of Grenfell, there is also a significant concern to ensure that infrastructure providers comply with fire regulations.
I fully understand all of this and it is something that we are trying to address very clearly. When we put together an investigation report and a suggested access route, we deliberately design it to cause as little disruption as possible. We also don’t want to add a burden to homeowners, or disrupt the lives of residents.
Regarding fire regulations, all our contractors are registered with the FIRAS register (Fire Installers Registration and Accreditation Scheme). If we have to drill a hole, we will stop it and take before, during and after photos which we will share with the owner.
What immediate measures must social landlords take to progress towards full fiber?
A key step could be to identify which team will take responsibility for the fiber switch-over program and what that means for residents.
Of course, this will involve people from multiple parts of the organization – asset managers, digital teams and legal expertise in licensing agreements – but I think it will be helpful for organizations to nominate a group. of people responsible for this area.
Often times we find that if we approach a social landlord and explain to them that we are starting to work in a city where they have properties, they cannot easily identify which team we should be in contact with. It slows things down.
And while there is some doubt as to whether that 2025 target will be met, I don’t think there is any disagreement that the target is a good one. To access health services, better work opportunities, education and recreation such as streaming TV or online video games, residents will need a fast broadband connection. If homeowners want to digitally connect to residents or use more sophisticated security monitoring devices, buildings will need fast broadband.
This means that social landlords must think about how to equip their property and their residents with it.