In 2019 the role of digital connectivity and the rollout of digital infrastructure will remain high on the agenda, both for the government and as a result, the UK’s property sector.
As the new year approaches, there are several upcoming consultations, expected regulatory changes and trends relating to digital infrastructure that should be firmly on the radar of professionals in the sector.
Homebuyers’ internet expectations
Next year, we can certainly expect the quality and speed of internet connections to rise in importance for property buyers. Following Clutton’s Home Ownership Aspirations Survey this year which found that, apart from budgets and planned purchasing timelines, most people (84% of those surveyed) regarded high speed broadband as the most important specification when deciding on their new home.
As smart home technology continues to develop and becomes more entwined in daily life, it is likely that the importance of reliable internet during homebuying decisions will similarly increase.
The fibre rollout speeds up
As the full-fibre rollout continues in 2019, thousands more UK homes and businesses will get connected to the network next year. Many internet service operators will be looking to establish more connections working alongside land and housing associations, with the aim of meeting the Government’s target of getting 50% of homes connected with full-fibre by 2025.
There are several government consultations responses that are expected to be released in the new year. Significantly, the government will publish the responses to its consultation discussing potential powers for internet operators to install fibre at existing and new build properties. Landowners and developers will need to introduce new processes to meet these new obligations. Therefore, it will be more important than ever for landlords to develop relationships with full fibre-optic operators now to ensure they don’t fall foul of the new rules likely to be introduced in 2019/20.
Greater awareness of the true meaning of ‘full-fibre’
Many internet service providers still advertise and sell their services and networks as ‘full-fibre’, when they are in fact, an inferior hybrid of copper and fibre cabling. This has and continues to be very misleading to consumers and property professionals. It is anticipated that regulations and measures will be introduced to call out operators to account, when they falsely claim their copper networks to be full-fibre.