Estate agents report that one of the first questions a buyer asks when viewing a property, often before they even step foot inside is: ‘What’s the broadband like?’ With more of us likely to be working from home now and in the future as a result of Covid-19, the need for a good, strong and reliable broadband connection is more important than ever.
So what should you be looking for if you are buying a property? The first step is to enter the postcode into an availability checker to see what broadband coverage is available in the area. Don’t take the vendor or estate agent’s word for it – they may claim the broadband signal is strong but they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Buying a home
Once you know what you are actually dealing with, you can make a decision as to whether the property is still a viable option. A study by online agency House simple found that slow WI-FI would put off 64 percent of buyers from buying a home and could reduce house prices by as much as 24 per cent. After all, if you buy a rural property in the middle of nowhere with poor Wi-Fi, you may find your only option to improve it is to pay tens of thousands of pounds to get cable installed.
How fast is good enough? The Government has pledged £5 billion in investment to firms to deliver ‘gigabit-capable’ fibre broadband by the end of 2025. Yet the average home broadband speed is far off that at just 46Mbps, according to Think Broadband, an independent broadband guide, and even this varies considerably from area to area with some people stuttering on at less than 5 Mbps. The top-tier package from Community Fibre, a relatively new provider which operates in parts of London, offers an eye-watering 920Mbps. Given that Netflix recommends you need 25Mbps to watch your favourite programmes, gigabit internet would enable the whole family to work from home, livestream TV, or take part in online gaming all at the same time with no problem at all.
Upgrade to fibre
Once you are in situ in your new home and discover your broadband speed is not good enough. There are several options available to you. If you have a big family or live with several people who work from home, you could get a second broadband line in the house. A wi-fi extender will further stretch coverage so you don’t have to work on the stairs on the landing to get a strong signal. Alternatively, upgrade to fibre, particularly fibre to the premises (FTTP), which will cover the entire property and give enough coverage for everyone to do what they want without interruptions.