back to article UK launches consultation on forcing landlords to allow gigabit broadband upgrades

The UK's Department of Fun – aka Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – has opened a consultation on legislation designed to improve access to gigabit broadband in apartment blocks. Launched today, the consultation [PDF] focuses on the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act, which received Royal assent …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    sea of gigabit connections....

    Don't make me laugh...

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      They're like busses round here...

      All the providers are coming online at once (and only one is running over Openreach).

  2. Marki Mark

    it is difficult to understand why around 40 per cent of industry requests go without any response

    Maybe the letter is lost in the sea of spam from the telecommunication provider...

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      At least part of it has to be this. I, for one, immediately hang up and blocklist anyone who calls from an unknown number and declares to represent an utility provider. They do not get a chance to explain. And it could be worse; I know several people who just don't answer to unknown numbers, period.

      I am well aware that I might be missing on some relevant communication this way, but what else am I supposed to do? I get several such calls every day, and determining whether they are genuine takes a significant effort - and 99.99% of times they are either spam or scammers or both.

      If my provider really needs to tell me something, they'll have to contact me via snail mail, or an email that I can recognize as genuine.

      Or, even better, phone companies should take action to stop unsolicited calls for real, and then they may get to use the medium for its actual purpose again.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        True. Just yesterday I didn't answer a phone call that merely displayed Restricted Number, supposing it to be another delightful robotic This is Amazon, calling about your accounts scams.

        A txt from my surgery then asked me to make another appointment for some phone consultation missed. I pointed out that Restricted Number sounds like Room 101 calling rather than inspiring confidence, and the girl apologetically explained they'd recently improved their phone systems.

  3. Nifty Silver badge

    Cityfibre plumbed fibre into every floors hallway in a block where I let a flat. The building management seemed unaware it had happened when I emailed them to ask about it - I only found out when the tenant found his address was on Cityfibre's coverage list and he asked my permission holes to be drilled and for the router to be installed. The current tenant is enjoying the service. The fibre only goes as far as the public hallway and the last few metres to router are coax or CAT5 (I haven't been to look). So, not real FTTP then, is it not much different from Virgin Media?

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Well, if it's a single run to your router then that is not really any different to the single run from the ONT to the router for an FTTP install.

      I suspect it is easier / more cost effective to install something more advanced than an ONT to serve each floor.

      Will be interesting to see if they offer 10,000/10,000 connections at some point.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "I suspect it is easier / more cost effective to install something more advanced than an ONT"

        "ONT" just means Optical Network Terminator and you'll still need one in a GPON network be it 1G, 10G or 25G (10G is being tested with the first customers here, while I see Switzerland IIRC someone is offering 25G already)

        Being GPON connections already shared among many users, the ONTs are installed one per user - it won't be really effective to install one for more than one user. An ONT is quite cheap.

        It's also usually easier to run a fibre cable in existing ducts (it can run with power cables as well without safety issues) than a Cat5e or Cat6.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Are you sure that the last few metres aren't fibre? A fibre cable with rugged sheath looks quite like coax from any more than a couple of feet away.

      I can imagine them installing fibre to a splitter or CBT per floor, then fibre drops into individual flats.

      They could of course have ONTs in the service area and Cat5 to premises, but I'd be very surprised in that case.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leasehold, fleecehold

    Or maybe Englandshire should just get rid of the bizarre feudal/serf-like "leasehold" thing where flat-owners don't actually entirely own their flat, and there is some money-grabbing parasite in the way, rather than the ISPs being able to deal with what should be the real flat-owners directly?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

      Would also avoid the current "your flat is unsafe because we couldn't be arsed to maintain the building and simply pocketed all the service charges for the last 20 years, now pay us another £50,000 to do the repairs that wouldn't have been necessary if we'd bothered tondo our job"

      Hanging's too good for some of these landlord freeholders.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

      So then who owns and maintains the landing between your front door and your neighbour's front door, and the corridor to the street?

      1. Emir Al Weeq

        Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

        You do.

        The property owners each own a share of the freehold, it is their responsibility to manage the maintenance of the building itself. Typically a freeholders' association either manages it themselves or subcontracts the work out to a maintenance company who can be held to account.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

          The flipside of that though, is if you have a bunch of neighbours who can't/won't pay for maintenance it puts you in a sticky situation.

          Do you pay out the shortfall to fix the hallway? If not, when someone falls through the floor and sues you're going to be jointly liable.

          Now think about how many people you know who are either tight-fisted, or struggling financially. Really think leaving it to neighbours to sort stuff out is going to work? Nearly every private road I've driven down has been a pothole nighmare, I'm not sure extended that level of care to buildings is a wise move.

          Not that the current setup is any good either.

          1. Velv

            Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

            Which is why Edinburgh Council (and perhaps other parts of Scotland) have:

            a) Statutory Notice Scheme to enforce essential repairs (they organise the work and invoice the owners if the owners can't agree). There was a scandal previously where the Council officials were mandating all sorts of non-essential work and getting backhanders, but since exposed there's no incentive to schedule unnecessary work, so the scheme works, and;

            b) Shared Costs scheme which reclaims the missed portions from the owners who failed to pay up. As long as a majority of owners have agreed to the works the missing owners are forced to pay up by the Council.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

            Still multiple orders of magnitude better than the current situation where the freeholder has every incentive to refuse to maintain the building in any way, because they make far more money if every repair is an emergency.

          3. Emir Al Weeq

            Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

            Fair point, but if you have a third party company as the building's landlord and it needs money, you can't just say "no, don't want to", so what difference does it make if the landlord/freeholder is your own company?

            IANAL but my my other half is and she is in exactly this situation (flat owner and joint freeholder) and it seems to work.

        2. Nifty Silver badge

          Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

          You do.

          The property owners each own a share of the freehold

          Only in the *rare* case where the flat owners own the freehold. Freehold is normally owned by a company that specialises in returning shareholder value by extorting fees for any changes to the building, change of tenant and maybe there's something to be creamed off the buildings insurance.

          Service charges go to a separate management company and these are for maintenance only, not upgrades. New roof = maintenance. Upgrade fire safety = a bill to be split among the leaseholders.

          1. Emir Al Weeq

            Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

            It may be rare but I was responding to J.G.Harston's question relating to this particular situation.

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Leasehold, fleecehold

      Englandshire should just get rid of the bizarre feudal/serf-like "leasehold" thing where flat-owners don't actually entirely own their flat

      There would be serious problems with that - not least that you would not be able to get a mortgage on any flat !

      But if we take a step back, even if you "own" the freehold, you don't technically own the land. I think it's still something like the Crown actually owns everything, but you have a perpetual licence to use it as if you really did own it - so in practical terms, no difference.

      But as regards flats, or other similar structures. There needs to be "someone" who owns and maintains the whole building. Without that you would have a situation where if it falls down, then the ground floor owner needs to rebuild their bit, and when they've done that, the 1st floor owner can re-build their bit, and then the second floor owner can re-build their bit, ... and if you're on the 15th floor and any one of the ones below you doesn't rebuild for whatever reason, then you have nothing to build your flying freehold property on. Or looking from the other direction, you'd all be reliant on the top floor owner fixing the roof - if they don't then everyone else gets wet when the pans on the top floor get full. And that's why you will not get a mortgage on a flying freehold property.

      So, the building will be owned by "someone", and they will lease parts of it (i.e. individual flats) to individual tenants. Under the conditions of the leases, the freeholder will be responsible to keeping the building in place (and rebuilding it if needed), while the leaseholders will be responsible for their own bits plus the shared costs of the shared bits.

      This does actually work fine. I let a flat in a small development, we pay a nominal free to cover buildings insurance, and mostly we club together and organise our own maintenance. We'd actually run the management company ourselves except that when the original developer raised it, none of the leaseholders (I wasn't one at the time) we interested in taking it on.

      Where it goes wrong are where the "someone" involved is there to make money rather than to service the building and it's occupiers. And that includes the scum who sell houses as leasehold and then ratchet up the service charges for no reason other than the unwitting buyers agreed to the service charges doubling every year (were their conveyancers asleep on the job as an explanation for not raising this ?). So what's needed is something doing about the scum who treat it as a cash machine rather than as a means to maintaining the building - such as the Edinburgh scheme another Regger has mentioned.

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