HUD Issues Final Rule Requiring Broadband Infrastructure in New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation

Tomorrow, HUD will publish a final rule that requires the installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation for multifamily rental housing that is funded or supported by HUD. Since the installation of broadband infrastructure may not be feasible for all new construction or substantial rehabilitation, the rule allows limited exceptions to the installation requirements.

The following programs will be covered by this final rule:

  1. Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant program;
  2. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, including the CDBG Disaster Recovery program;
  3. Continuum of Care program;
  4. HOME Investment Partnerships program;
  5. Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program;
  6. Housing Trust Fund program;
  7. Project-Based Voucher program;
  8. Public Housing Capital Fund program;
  9. Section 8 project-based housing assistance payments programs, including, but not limited to, the Section 8 New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, Loan Management Set Aside, and Property Disposition programs; and
  10. Section 202 and Section 811 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities programs.

The rule will not apply to multifamily rental housing that only has a mortgage insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration or with a loan guaranteed under a HUD loan guarantee program.

The final rule does not change any of the substantive requirements that were in the proposed rule (members only), but adds clarifications on the threshold for substantial rehabilitation and on the point in the planning process for new construction or substantial rehabilitation at which a project must be to not be subject to the rule’s requirements. This final rule will become effective 30 days after the rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

This new rule supports the Obama Administration’s efforts to narrow the Digital Divide in the low-income communities served by HUD. Earlier this month, HUD also issued a final rule that will “modernize” the consolidated planning process for Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula grantees by adding the concepts of broadband access and vulnerability to natural hazard risks to the Consolidated Plan’s housing market analysis.

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