In this technological era, it can sometimes be hard to remember that not everyone has access to the internet. To save money, some homes are still built in a way that is incompatible with technology that requires specific cables, fiber optics, and other permanent wiring. This is especially true for homes that are built through government assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is now suggesting amendments to rules for their assisted housing to address this issue.
Their proposal would require all developments to include the installation of broadband infrastructure. They believe, like many others do, that having access to high-speed internet connections has become an essential amenity, rather than a lucrative expense. This proposal is a part of the ConnectHome program, whose aim is to provide affordable broadband access to the people living in HUD-assisted homes.
Specifics of the Proposal
Their definition of broadband infrastructure includes the installation of wiring or cables that meets the current FCC standard of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Whenever this requirement is updated, the facilities also must be updated. The infrastructure must be installed regardless of whether or not there is an internet provider for that specific area. These rules would affect many different federally-funded housing programs including Section 8, Choice Neighborhoods, Public Housing Capital Fund, and Project-Based Voucher, to name a few.
These programs would not be required to purchase internet subscriptions for their residents nor the technology to access it, like a laptop, per say. However, they would be encouraged to educate their residents on how to set up their subscription. Overall, the rule is to allow more Americans to connect to high-speed broadband. They also cite K-12 and adult students doing their homework online as examples of why these units need to have the ability access to the internet.
How it Will Affect Developers
Developers have a lot to consider now when creating new units, or rehabilitating older ones. There are many different options in regards to installing infrastructure for broadband access. Some will be more expensive than others. Some will be easier to update than others. Some will be more user-friendly for residents than others. Only trial, error, and time will reveal the best practices as these units are updated for living in the modern times.
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