DM Policy 35: Digital Technology
Technology plays a multi-layered role in how we live, work and play, the importance of which has been highlighted by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Getting the right technological infrastructure in place at the right time is fundamental to well-planned and successful communities.
Paragraph 112 of the NPPF states “Advanced, high quality and reliable communications infrastructure is essential for economic growth and social well-being. Planning policies and decisions should support the expansion of electronic communications networks, including next generation mobile technology (such as 5G) and full fibre broadband connections.
Provision and take-up of reliable and high-speed broadband has been a major issue reported by rural households and businesses in certain parts of the District. Slow broadband and inadequate and slow mobile phone coverage are constraints to economic development. Extending the reach of fibre broadband is key for the viability of rural businesses and will also benefit rural residents.
Dissatisfaction with broadband speed have been reported in parts of Deal, Whitfield, Capel and Alkham. Currently, 95.14% of the districts premises has access to broadband speeds of 30 Mbps or above, which is just below the national average of 96.4%. The situation is far worse for Gigabit per Second capable broadband typically delivered by Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Here only 4.02% of the district has such access compare to a national picture of 15.5%. In 2020, BT Openreach announced plans for the roll-out of full fibre connections to rural and urban communities in 251 market towns and villages across the UK by the mid 2020's. This includes the settlements of Deal, Kingsdown, Ripple, Ringwould, Sandwich, Eastry and Worth. This will significantly increase access to Full Fibre Technology across the District.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) “New Build Developments: Delivering gigabit-capable connections ” consultation document makes clear the government’s intention to ensure that new build developments receive gigabit broadband by 2025. This is delivered by gigabit-capable connections that can provide speeds of over 1000 megabits per second (Mbps). In due course, it is intended to legislate and to amend the Building Regulations 2010 to achieve this for residential development.
Gigabit-capable connections are often, but not always, delivered by full fibre connections and can also be delivered via technologies such as cable and fixed wireless access. The policy below is therefore technology neutral and does not prescribe the type of technology that must be used, provided that it can provide speeds of over 1000 Mbps.
DM Policy 35: Digital Technology
All new residential and employment development will have gigabit-capable connections.
This will be through the installation by the developer, within the curtilage of the property (or the development), of both:
a. The physical infrastructure necessary for gigabit-capable connections; and
b. A gigabit-capable connection which may be achieved by an optical fibre or other cabling or wiring that will provide gigabit broadband if such a service is provided by an Internet Service Provider.
Planning applications for development must be supported by a statement that sets how this is proposed to be delivered.