Once upon a time if you asked a prospective buyer what they wanted their new home to have, they may have said a contemporary kitchen, a large garden or space to park two cars. But now, buyers are often equally concerned about broadband speed, particularly if they work from home.
So-called broadband blight, where householders suffer from poor broadband speeds, can be a deal breaker when it comes to house sales. While ongoing schemes are improving broadband in the region, coverage is still patchy so it’s vital to check broadband at the same time as how good an area’s schools are or how close you are to transport links.
With families going online to perform everyday tasks from grocery shopping to streaming entertainment, good broadband has become vital for our leisure time. It’s also increasingly important in our working lives, as an increasing amount of us work from home, and as the lines between work time and home time blur.
Property search websites have now added broadband speed checkers to listings, along with other factors such as quality of local schools, with broadband speed now regarded as the "fourth utility” after gas, water and electricity.
BT is busy with a £2.5bn commercial roll-out of fibre broadband across the UK. Here, in our region, Digital Durham, a multi-agency partnership, led by Durham County Council and BT, promises to extend fibre broadband coverage to 98% of the county. More than 100,000 premises have already upgraded, with more still to come.
Superfast North Yorkshire has helped to roll out superfast broadband to the vast majority of the county’s 380,000 properties, with the next phase due to make high-speed broadband available to another 11,100 homes and businesses by the end of this year.
A spokeswoman for BT said: "Anything you can do online, you can do better and faster with fibre. Not only is superfast broadband of value to business, it also has many benefits for families such as downloading music in minutes, watching catch-up TV, streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes, or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. It can also improve access to new job opportunities, and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services. Most importantly, it enables everyone in the family to do their own thing online, all at the same time.
"It provides the cornerstone for prosperous communities, helping local people build their skills and knowledge and encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs. People who may have found it difficult to work from home due to slow connections can now work as effectively at home as when they’re in the office.”
Areas in the next phase for fibre broadband include Middleton-in-
Teesdale, Stanley, Lanchester, Tow Law, Witton le Wear, Whorlton, Barnard Castle, Cotherstone and Gainford.
Like any other aspect of house buying, whether you need or want superfast broadband entirely comes down to what is important to you and your family. If you want to stream the latest movies while your other half works from home and your teenagers catch up with their friends on social media, then a property without good broadband won’t work. But, if you’re moving because you want a more peaceful lifestyle, then decent broadband speeds are less likely to be a deal breaker for you. By doing your research before you put in any offer, you won’t face a nasty surprise when you move only to find that your broadband isn’t up to speed.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. I