New home owners in UK regard ultra-fast broadband as an essential

A major UK home builder has found that ultra-fast broadband is now almost important to buyers as essentials like running water and electricity.

According to the Berkeley Group those buying a new home expect it to be available from the day they move in and the company would risk losing buyers if new properties didn’t offer high-speed connectivity.

Berkeley is aiming to make sure that all its sizeable new housing developments in the UK will have Fibre-to-the-Premises technology (FTTP) to meet increasing customer demands.

‘For new home buyers, high speed broadband has almost become a given now, it is like the power steering on a car, no one asks whether the car they’re buying has it anymore,’ said Berkeley’s chief executive, Rob Perrins.

‘If we weren’t able to offer fibre, I think there would be the real prospect of some people walking away from property sales. It is definitely a factor in the decision making process for people buying new homes,’ he explained.

‘More and more people are consuming ever more bandwidth with an increasing use of streaming music services, things like Netflix, Amazon Prime and other video content. And by installing FTTP or ‘ultrafast’ we can assure customers that they’ll have capacity for their future needs,’ he added.

The builder is working with Openreach to provide the necessary infrastructure on its developments as the network is open to competition thus allowing new home owners their choice of broadband provider.

Many developers, including Berkeley, are now taking the option of self-installing Openreach equipment to help cut out delays and ensure service provision for when customers move in.

‘We’re investing heavily in ultrafast broadband because we’re committed to giving the UK a first class network, capable of delivering the very latest communication services for households and businesses,’ said Kim Mears, managing director of Infrastructure Delivery at Openreach.

‘We know that people are passionate about the speed and reliability of the broadband service that their communication provider can offer them, and for some the availability of ultrafast speeds will strongly influence their decision on which new property to buy,’ Mears added.

As part of its plans to make ultrafast broadband speeds available to up to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020, Openreach is now building FTTP infrastructure for free to all new housing developments with 30 or more homes.

However, this is dependent on developers registering their site with Openreach and working together early in the building process. Openreach has promised to connect new homes within nine months of contracting with a developer.

Any developments with two or more homes which already have access to the company’s existing or planned fibre infrastructure, will be either funded entirely by Openreach or with the help of developer co-funding where that’s needed.