A high-speed fibre broadband connection is one of the key factors people consider when buying or renting a property, according to a Staffordshire estate agent.
With nearly 13,000 homes across the county changing hands during the last 12 months, faster broadband connectivity for things like on-demand video, online gaming and smart home apps is more important than ever.
Across Staffordshire, more than 75,000 homes and businesses can now benefit from faster speeds thanks to the county council’s £32 million Superfast Staffordshire partnership with Openreach.
And it’s proving popular as well, with more than 50 per cent of premises already having contacted their service provide and switched to a fibre connection.
Jamie Smith, an estate agent with Stafford-based Clothier and Day, said: “Superfast broadband connection certainly adds appeal to a property. Home owners should certainly think about getting connected. Superfast broadband is now considered as an important feature in the home, enabling people to access a range of leisure, education and other services and to work flexibly. In some areas where mobile phone signal is poor, a superfast broadband connection can also offer an alternative communication option.
“When people buy a property they do take an interest in broadband speeds and these are often now displayed on property sales websites. It is now increasingly becoming a factor in helping people to choose a new home.”
The most recent areas to benefit from the Superfast Staffordshire rollout include Great Chatwell and Standeford in South Staffordshire, Park Nook (near Ipstones) in Staffordshire Moorlands, Shenstone Wood End and Little Hay in Lichfield and Croxton in Stafford Borough.
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, Mark Winnington, said: “We have now passed the 50 per cent take-up mark which is another significant milestone for the programme. We are now urging more people to get connected and improve their day-to-day living through better access to a range of services.
“Having access to a faster internet connection has also been shown to make a property more desirable to buyers or renters. People can choose any provider and can find out more on the Superfast Staffordshire website. We are obviously really pleased to have nearly reached 96 per cent coverage, but I’d like to reassure people that we will continue to do all we can to find solutions for those not yet in included in the plan.”
It’s further good news for the area after it was announced, earlier this year, that Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network, is recruiting around 200 new trainee engineers across the West Midlands, including 20 in Staffordshire.
Carl Sproston, Openreach’s partnership director, said: “We are delighted so many people are using fibre across Staffordshire. Our partnership has been a real success story so far, but we know there is still more to do. We’re now working in some of the most rural parts of the county, but our engineers are highly-skilled in overcoming the challenges this brings.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people that to benefit from faster speeds, they should first check online to see if they live in a fibre-enabled area, and if so, get in touch with their broadband provider to switch.”
Across the county, according to independent thinkbroadband.com, more than 95 per cent of premises are able to order superfast broadband.
People can find out more at www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk
Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.
We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.
Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.
We work on behalf of more than 600 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.
We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.
For the year ended 31 March 2018, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visit openreach.co.uk