Opinion: Why Gigabit capable home connectivity is the way to go | News

The Innovation and Technology Network Strip

The Innovation and Technology Network


Opinion: Why Gigabit capable home connectivity is the way to go

By Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre

Last year, the government revised its full-fibre rollout target from 100% of homes in the UK enabled by 2025, down to 85%. This shows the struggle this monumental task presents, and with only 27% of UK premises having Gigabit-capable broadband as of September 2020, there is still a long way to go.

Gigabit capable, full fibre broadband is future-proofed and delivers a higher quality connection than traditional, copper-wired connectivity which will need to be replaced in about 10 years as it cannot cope with the ever-increasing demand for data.

The broadband speed delivered by the 100% full fibre network can be increased without having to change or upgrade the fibre cable, reducing costs in the long run, unwanted admin for landlords and unnecessary stress for tenants.

Now that people need the internet for working, learning or even booking a vaccination, good quality home internet is vital to avoid any serious setbacks.

As any utility, it should be always available to everyone, affordable, reliable and consistent. This translates into a connection that is fast (upload and download speeds should be symmetrical for the best result) and doesn’t drop out.

The responsibility lies with internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure that full fibre broadband packages are fairly priced, but landlords also have to do their part to make sure full fibre broadband is accessible to their tenants.

This starts with installing the full fibre broadband infrastructure – an ISP will approach a landlord and ask for a wayleave agreement – a permission to install internet apparatus into the building.

The recently introduced Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 states that ISPs can obtain a court order to install their connectivity infrastructure if a landlord fails to respond to a wayleave grant request.

It will, however, always be a better option for the landlord to engage proactively with the ISP as the broadband solution will always be better suited to what the landlord needs by a process of discussion rather than enforcement. By responding to these requests, landlords ensure optimum control over which internet technologies will serve their building. They should always insist on full fibre.

Longevity is also something landlords need to keep in mind. Full-fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is not only the fastest broadband solution, but it is also future-proofed.

As opposed to full-fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and full-fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), FTTH is entirely made of fibre (without any copper wiring solution), allowing it to scale and adapt easily to future increase in data usage without the need to change components every few years.

By investing in FTTH, you’re investing in a hassle-free future, at no extra cost.

Another factor to take into consideration is the quality of installation. Landlords should ask ISPs for a risk and method statement (RAMS) and construction phase plan (CPP) for the proposed installation – giving full transparency on the works to be carried out.

Some providers will not charge the landlord for the infrastructure installation and will tailor their methods to the needs of the building, resulting in minimal disruption to the tenants– better broadband does not have to be invasive, nor costly to install. To ensure the highest quality of installation look for ISPs that have ISO9001 (Quality), ISO14001 (Environmental) and ISO45001 (Health & Safety) accreditation.

Gigabit-capable home internet will only become a reality if landlords work more closely with ISPs. It’s important to make sure properties are future-proofed and served with good quality broadband connection as they would with any other key utility.

Now is the time for landlords to make sure their properties are equipped with better broadband – it’s worth researching what options are available on the market and reaching out to local providers to discuss the options.