Proposed Rule Requires Broadband at HUD-Funded Properties

HUD published a proposed rule that would require, when feasible, broadband infrastructure to be installed at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation of multifamily rental housing funded or supported by HUD programs.

For HUD-assisted buildings with more than four rental units, the new construction or substantial rehabilitation must include installation of broadband infrastructure, except when the jurisdiction documents that:

  1. The location makes installing broadband infrastructure infeasible (as in some rural areas); or
  2. The cost of installing infrastructure would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of its program or activity or cause an undue financial burden; or
  3. In the case of substantial rehabilitation, the structure of the housing makes installing broadband infrastructure infeasible.

The preamble to the proposed rule states that recipients of HUD housing program funds are not required to provide broadband service subscriptions to households.

The proposed rule defines “broadband infrastructure.” It also defines “substantial rehabilitation” for HUD programs that do not already have a program-specific definition to mean:

  1. Significant work on the electrical system of the multifamily rental housing. “Significant work” means complete replacement of the electrical system or other work that is equal to or greater than 75% of the cost of replacing the entire electrical system. In the case of multifamily rental housing with multiple buildings with more than four units, “entire system” refers to the electrical system of the building undergoing rehabilitation; or
  2. Rehabilitation of the multifamily rental housing in which the estimated cost of the rehabilitation is equal to or greater than 75% of the total estimated cost of replacing the multifamily rental housing after the rehabilitation is complete. In the case of multifamily rental housing with multiple buildings with more than four units, the replacement cost must be that of the building undergoing rehabilitation.

The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on May 18, would apply to the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), HOME Investment Partnerships program, Continuum of Care program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, Community Development Block Grant program, Project-Based Voucher program, Public Housing Capital Fund program, Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant program, Section 8 project-based housing assistance programs (including Section 8 New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, Loan Management Set-Aside, and Property Disposition programs), and the Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities program.

The requirements of the proposed rule would not apply to multifamily rental housing that only has a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration or has a loan guaranteed under a HUD loan guarantee program.

Comments are due July 18. The proposed rule is at