EPOA Planning Guidance for Digital Connectivity (focused on fixed line Broadband connections)

Purpose, role and status of this guidance

Now more than ever and particularly since the Covid pandemic’s onset, digital connectivity is playing an ever-increasing role in our day to day lives. As technology improves, the opportunities to embrace, access and maximise the benefits of faster digital connectivity become increasingly important in the way we live and work. The advances in both mobile and fixed digital connectivity allow for new opportunities to increase innovation in the way we currently plan for our future communities in Essex.

This guidance has been produced to assist local authorities, digital infrastructure providers and developers / planning applicants in respect of digital connectivity infrastructure and its delivery through planning processes.

This will include:
• The preparation of Local Plans
- making clear to local planning authorities what is required of applicants / developers in relation to digital connectivity for new developments
• The preparation of planning proposals, including masterplans and planning applications, plus infrastructure projects
- making clear to applicants what they will be required to do to ensure satisfactory and future proofed digital connectivity to serve their new developments
• The preparation of proposals for digital infrastructure / equipment
- Helping digital infrastructure / service providers to navigate the planning system successfully and what they can do to assist local planning authorities who will need to handle / respond to their proposals
• The determination of planning applications
- Helping local planning authorities responsible for determining planning applications for new developments and digital infrastructure, some of which may be by means of prior approval procedures (under the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO))

The guidance has been developed by the Essex Planning Officers Association (EPOA) and is provided as explanatory, good practice guidance. It is not SPD for planning purposes. Its primary role is to assist those involved with planning and implementing digital connectivity and to deliver better outcomes through greater, more universal connectivity based on good practice.
This guidance is will be updated periodically to keep it up to date as requirements and best practice evolve, to ensure the guide will be a live information source.

Page updated: 19/01/2023

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