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Vast majority of tenants and owners face connectivity issues in their property

Consumers are paying the price for residential developers’ historic lack of investment in digital connectivity with 85% of tenants and owners facing issues, according to new research.

Along with failing services, it means they end up using an additional 2.5GB of extra mobile data each month to compensate for their poor WiFi and this additional cost totals £2.2 billion across the nation, says the new report from real estate connectivity certifications provider WiredScore.

Despite consumers paying an average of £312 for their home internet service, this additional cost is being incurred by users trying to overcome regular connectivity issues and failing services, typically totalling 20 service breakdowns per month.

The research also found that over a quarter, some 28%, would not have moved into their property if they’d known about the connectivity issues they would face.

WiredScore Home has been launched on the back of the firm’s commercial real estate certification business, which has certified more than 500 million square feet across six countries impacting six million office workers since its launch in 2013, to specifically look at the residential market.

The certification will support developers looking to improve the design of the connectivity services for new homes to prevent the need for expensive retrofits. It will also introduce critical transparency to the residential market, enabling landlords and sellers to demonstrate the higher quality service in their buildings.

There are clear commercial benefits of good digital connectivity services. Some 61% of residential developers report they can rent their properties at a higher price and/or with a greater yield.

It also says that 40% see an increased demand for their properties, 56% report they can rent their properties for longer, due to the improved in-home experience, and 47% stated that it enabled them to sell their properties for a greater price.

Some 60% of developers have already improved their current planning applications in line with the new National Planning Policy Framework, to support next-generation 5G coverage and full fibre connections, with a further 29% resolved to improve future applications.

Full fibre connections are now a greater priority, with three quarters of developers reporting some of their current projects will have full fibre and 19% reporting all will have fibre to the premise. This will result in a significant boost to the current 6% of UK properties with full fibre.

With many traditional building materials, including treated glass, steel frames and metalised insulation, negatively impacting cellular coverage, 59% of residential developers report that they are adopting different building techniques.

Over half are also undertaking RF surveys, to understand the connectivity service in their building, and installing connectivity technologies to boost in-building signal, including DAS and small cells at 55% and 54% respectively.

While it appears that residential developers have made the critical mind set shift towards appreciating connectivity, all survey respondents indicated they want more guidance around improving the digital connectivity services of their existing or future developments.

Specifically, 77% would like to better understand the current digital connectivity level of their developments and have guidance on how to improve it, while 57% want guidance on how they can implement the highest levels of digital infrastructure into their developments.

‘Connectivity is critical to almost every aspect of our lives with most adult internet users typically spending 24 hours online each week, almost double the time spent in 2007. The residential development community has long shouldered the important responsibility of maintaining and improving residential digital infrastructure in line with a rapid growth in consumer demand,’ said William Newton, EMEA managing director at WiredScore.

‘Our research shows their renewed commitment to supporting 5G and full fibre connections, but it’s important that the right investments are made to assure an improved in-home experience. In addition, it’s also crucial that the residential market understands how to design and retrofit future-proofed properties, as well as communicate the investment to prospective homeowners or renters,’ he added.

According to Dave Butler, chief executive of the UK Apartment Association, high quality digital connectivity is a critical requirement of the modern day renter. ‘As this report highlights, they are too often let down. Build to Rent landlords in particular have been setting out to fix this problem and provide a better service and superior experience,’ he explained.

‘To achieve this, they need to know that the buildings they are investing in can provide for renters today, and also deliver the technology renters will be using tomorrow. WiredScore’s rating scheme is a welcome development in the Build to Rent market and will help set the standard for best in class digital infrastructure,’ he added.