Broadband is an essential part of our everyday lives, so much so that internet speeds can affect the price of a property, both positively and negatively. Broadband is now just as important as the provision of water and electricity when buying a home and is one of the first questions prospective buyers ask when purchasing a property.
So, what should you look out for and consider when buying broadband?
The demand for faster broadband speeds is increasing at a dramatic rate. For a few years, Superfast broadband has been seen as the answer, but in rural areas especially, there are a number of factors that you need to consider.
There is a common misconception that Superfast broadband means that fibre – the hair thin glass strands that can carry data at the speed of light – goes directly to a property. In fact, Superfast broadband travels from the telephone exchange to a green roadside cabinet that you’ve probably spotted in your local area, which then transfers internet data via copper lines to your home. These are the same copper wires that have been used for telephone calls for more than a century, and which were never designed to carry data.
The distance between the green cabinet and your home that the copper wires then have to travel have a direct impact on your broadband speed; the further away you are from the cabinet, the slower your internet will be, actually losing half the speed of your broadband every 700 metres.
Copper-based broadband solutions may be working well in places today, but with demand increasing and people’s internet usage evolving, it is necessary to be aware of new technologies that will future-proof your internet speeds. The number of people using the internet in your village at the same time will also affect speeds at peak times – you may notice a slow-down once the kids get home from school!
This is because internet speeds are divided by the number of people using the internet at any one time and the services being used, such as video streaming. Our homes are now multi-user environments, with the average UK home reported to have at least 12 digitally connected devices, such as mobiles and tablets, laptops and PCs, and virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home.
Even our kitchen appliances are starting to use smart technology. We are watching and streaming more television, film and video content than ever before, requiring reliable and uninterrupted internet access. The continually rising popularity of gaming is also necessary to consider, with the younger and slightly older generations reliant on fast online streaming speeds in order to stay connected with friends and achieve the best gaming experience.
Our changing work habits also require consideration. Flexible working is now popular amongst employers, with staff increasingly encouraged to work from home, meaning careers and therefore livelihoods are dependent on broadband speeds. That is why it is vital to make sure your broadband is unaffected by external factors than can impair the speed of your internet.
When purchasing broadband, it is important to remember that the future is all about having fibre directly to your door. FTTP which stands for Fibre To The Premises, is a new internet service being rolled out which will eradicate the use of copper cabling altogether. This will be known as Ultrafast broadband and will offer internet speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (1Gbps).
County Broadband is rolling out Ultrafast broadband to villages across the East of England to boost internet services in rural communities, starting in Essex and Suffolk. Promising speeds of more than 20 times the national average, it will transform the way rurally situated residents and businesses can access the internet, live, work and play.