Proposed building code could give new homes more Internet ports and power points

SINGAPORE - Home owners of the future will find it easier to install smart home devices such as security cameras at higher vantage points on their walls or ceilings, if a proposed building code gets put in place.

New homes could eventually sport additional Internet ports in each room, making it more convenient for users to install Internet-connected devices, or even run a cable to a computer for faster wired speeds. Rooms may also come with an additional power point next to the Internet port to allow users to power their connected devices.

The proposal further suggests two such outlets for each living or dining room, and one outlet for each bedroom.

This is one of the proposed changes that came out of the first round of a public consultation - first raised in May 2017 - on the Code of Practice for Info-communication Facilities in Buildings.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) highlighted this suggestion in a 30-page consultation paper on Friday (April 20) which summarised other suggestions from participants such as telcos.

Noting the pervasive use of smart devices in the home, IMDA said: "It would be practical to have an outlet at a high point within the residential unit (for example, the ceiling) for IP (Internet Protocol) cameras and Wi-Fi access points for optimal in-home coverage."

The bulk of the paper revolves around commercial and business concerns, such as setting aside rent-free space in rooftops for mobile network operators to set up equipment for telephone, Internet and television coverage.

Another suggestion is to modify television co-axial cabling so that multiple televisions can receive digital signals without requiring each television set to have its own antenna.

Under this change, home owners who are receiving only free-to-air TV and have multiple television sets will need only one antenna, which connects to a modified TV outlet, and is then run through a splitter to send digital signals to all television sets in the home.

During the first consultation in 2017, IMDA also proposed that all new homes come fitted with wiring delivering high-speed fibre broadband to the kitchen and main entrance, and not just to the bedrooms or living room.

IMDA also proposed the mandatory installation of a second fibre termination point in every home, which will expand Internet connectivity in homes.

A second public consultation on the building code started on Friday and will run until noon on May 17.