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Boosting broadband with housebuilders. Kim Mears, MD Infrastructure Delivery

21 Nov 2017
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When you buy a new home, you expect the best of everything – “all mod cons” as many people call it, and traditionally that meant running water, heating, power, even a fully fitted kitchen and contemporary white goods.

Housing developers have known all this for decades, but now many are waking up to the ultimate “mod con” and putting it top of their list - high-speed broadband.

Connectivity has truly become part of the furniture in any contemporary home and the big question for most people moving into their dream pad isn’t ‘can I connect?’ but ‘what can I connect to?’

Technology never stands still 
More than nine out of ten homes across the UK can now access superfast broadband speeds, which means they can connect to pretty much anything, and all at once, but technology never stands still. People continue to demand faster and better broadband – and we have to meet that challenge. 

The statistics are a real eye opener. In 2015, Britons used less than half the amount of data they do now over their home broadband and average speeds were a third of what they are today.  

This pace of change shows no sign of slowing as broadband connectivity becomes increasingly woven into the fabric of our daily lives and work.

Connectivity influencing buying decisions 
Virtually every house hunter factors connectivity into their buying decision these days. A survey conducted by leading developer Redrow - found a whopping 98 per cent of people believe high-speed broadband is the most important factor for social well-being in their community - second only to doctor’s surgeries. 

And in a recent interview Rob Perrins, the boss of Berkeley Group – another leading house building firm – said people expect broadband to be available from the day they move in and his company would risk losing buyers if they didn’t offer it. So that’s pretty clear then…

Partnering with house builders 
The good news is that Berkeley is one of 850 property firms who have signed up to our scheme to provide Fibre-to-the-Premise infrastructure free of charge to all its new developments of 30 properties or more. Redrow have also come on board, so all future Redrow homes will benefit from ultrafast technology delivering download speeds of at least 100Mbps.

Now Redrow have gone a step further with a deal to ensure thousands of homes - built before any commercial or government investment plans for fibre broadband could reach them - don’t get left behind. 

In the first national co-funding deal of its kind – Redrow have partnered with us to connect up 3,000 homes across 14 existing developments with superfast broadband.  
 
You might ask why Redrow are investing in this project. The answer is they share our vision which is to deliver high speed fibre broadband at scale and pace reaching as many people as possible. 

Connectivity and the economy
 
The rollout of high-speed connectivity has already delivered a profoundly positive boost to the UK economy and productivity. The UK ‘eGDP’ – that part of the economy driven by the internet – stands at around £180bn, or ten per cent of our overall GDP. And it forms a greater proportion of our economy than in any other G20 country.
 
But beyond its economic impact, broadband has, of course become an integral part of modern life. It affects nearly every aspect of our day-to-day activities as individuals, families and communities, the importance of which was revealed in Redrow’s own survey.

We’re hoping to replicate Redrow’s approach with other developers in the near future because, simply put, the more people that can benefit from high-speed connectivity, the better it is for the entire country – everybody wins.