Can access to high-quality broadband increase your home value?
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

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As the United States embarks on a $65 billion expansion of the nation’s broadband infrastructure, research conducted across the pond shows that bridging the digital divide can do much more than just level the playing field when it comes to job access.

According to a survey of almost 300 real estate agents in the United Kingdom, broadband quality was considered the “single most important factor” to purchasing a new home among 20 percent of respondents—second only to property size (23 percent) and more important than number of bedrooms (18 percent) or even access to transit (9 percent).

The number of queries related to broadband quality at a given property increased by 69 percent since the start of the pandemic, the survey found. Moreover, one in three respondents said homeowners with broadband speeds of 300 Mbps or more received roughly £5,000 more for their property than if they didn’t have high-speed broadband.

Fortunately for homeowners in the UK, 62 percent have at least 300 Mbps broadband speeds already, according to recent reports from Ofcom, while 96 percent of UK households have at least 30 Mbps speeds. Going forward, the UK plans to deliver gigabit speeds to at least 85 percent of residences by 2025.

In the US, however, the scale of the digital divide is much wider than it is in the UK, as a study from BroadbandNow Research found that more than 42 million Americans don’t even have broadband access today. To that end, complicated estimates as to what qualifies as “high speed” broadband by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—the governing body that mandates ISP behavior in the US—is lower than what many consider a workable threshold (25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds), especially in the context of a post-pandemic, work-from-anywhere society.

For instance, not all activities conducted online call for the same amount of upload or download speeds, but they all require something: A group Zoom call generally requires 2.5 Mbps speeds, while streaming videos may require 25 Mbps for high-definition quality. And with many different “types” of users within one household—from home-office workers to binge streamers—residential broadband requirements, while fluctuating, are generally only growing.

Despite all of these variables, the fact remains that access to quality broadband that delivers performant connectivity still evades many US households—and their property values could be taking a hit as a result.

That’s why expanding broadband access couldn’t come at a better time, as more people than ever are expressing an interest in remote work to take advantage of relocating to their ideal location, or to find a job that lets them embrace a “digital nomad” lifestyle. With the pandemic showing that proximity to the main office isn’t a major factor in an individual or team’s ability to succeed and be productive, a lack of broadband access is one of the only remaining factors restricting flexibility as to when and how users do work.

No matter what infrastructure improvements take place in the future, IT will require a more diverse and scalable toolset to deliver on ever-higher employee expectations, regardless of where they are located (or even their ISP).

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Tags: relocation , remote work , hybrid work , work from anywhere , work from home , home value , real estate , infrastructure bill , infrastructure , broadband , network management , network monitoring , network performance monitoring

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