Ten years ago, Hyperoptic was founded to shake up the broadband market. In the decade since then, we have done just that, making a name for ourselves by putting our purpose-built full fibre network into homes across the UK, be it single dwelling units or multi-dwelling units, retrofits or new builds, cities or towns.
We have become a business that has relationships with more than 250 developers, including 18 of the biggest 20 housebuilders by size and annual completions.
With advanced fibre optic technology and gigabit speeds 11 times faster than the national average, our network continues to transform broadband infrastructure in the UK.
But as we have grown, we have been looking at how our clients have diversified their portfolios and deployed their capital, and as a result we have decided to move into one of the fastest growing corners of the property industry – the build-to-rent (BTR) market.
That is why today we are making a call to action across the property sector. On 1 June, we are launching our first BTR product, and we are calling on operators, developers and investors to get in touch about how we can fulfil connectivity requirements, future-proof their estate and satisfy their tenants.
So what are we offering? We are offering a digital connectivity service that is key for all smart BTR developments. Our service provides seamless, site-wide connectivity, from the roof terrace to the car park, including outdoor spaces. It is customisable, secure and best-in-class when it comes to customer service.
Having spent the past year studying the connectivity experience that customers receive and expect in a BTR development, we realised that we needed to reconsider how people plan to use their connectivity. We had to think about what the experience is that the developers are trying to create and how we can bring an experience of connectivity that matches their expectations.
We are really excited to get our BTR product rolling. Our service, flexibility, speed, reliability and value means that we are ready to tap into this booming market
With so many BTR developments now including communal types of living – be it lobby rooms with coffee shops, a roof terrace or a workspace – we saw that tenants needed to have a seamless wifi that is site-wide, regardless of where they are in the building. Our site-wide wifi will allow people to be on their own personal, virtual network that will follow them across the site wherever they go.
We are also going to bring in guest wifi, which sounds simple but means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What we have developed is a seamless guest wifi network; rather than one code for the coffee shop and another for the bar, once you have joined on to the site-wide guest wifi, you have it throughout the scheme.
The design is not just comprehensive, it is secure too, with network separation (VLAN), WPA2 wifi encryption and a firewall between tenants providing peace of mind.
Connectivity from day one
Another key point of focus for us was the ability to give operators a certain level of control around the connectivity infrastructure in their developments. Whenever we partner with a developer, one of the most important objectives we have is to ensure there is connectivity from day one, so that all residents have to do is type in their email address, create a Hyperoptic account and on moving-in day they can order a pizza while still moving the boxes around.
In the BTR space, we realised that the relationship with the occupier goes beyond just the first day. We realised that operators want to be able to have more control over their own connectivity systems, and that is why we have created a management portal that gives those who manage the development the ability to understand who is connected.
We also had to make sure that the management portal would give control to our award-winning customer service team but at the same time allow interaction with the building management team as well. Bringing those two together while still maintaining the great customer experience at the end of it is the key. It has also given us a great opportunity to offer footfall analytics to allow the building management team to have an understanding of how many people are using the network at any given time as well as how they use it and where they use it.
Our new BTR product also brings with it some flexibility on our traditional commercial model.
Traditionally, Hyperoptic bore the costs of the full installation of the infrastructure and looked to recoup it from the customer, which until now has always been the end resident. What has become clear in this BTR space, however, is that we need a range of commercial models to suit the different types of client.
BTR operators are often looking for ownership of the infrastructure, so we have had to figure out the best way to balance ownership and service. We have a range of attractive, flexible commercial models to make sure that we appeal to both residents and their managers, including variable contract lengths, as well as CAPEX contribution and OPEX options balancing developer, operator and investor needs.
Growing tenant demand
In our opinion, now is the perfect time to be launching this product and looking to strike new relationships. What developers have tapped into is a growing tenant demand that was already happening before the pandemic – a trend among certain demographics who are not necessarily looking to buy a home or have been priced out of buying one. As a result, there has been real momentum behind the private rental sector over the course of recent years. From our perspective, that trend is only likely to gather more momentum.
The increasing use of working from home and the drive towards hybrid working has meant we have needed to consider how the efforts to improve connectivity in people’s homes can continue to improve. With our offer of packages up to 1GB, we are well-suited to this growing trend, with a hard-wired connection present in every individual dwelling. It is built for home-working, community connectivity, gaming and TV streaming – all at the same time.
Our decade of full fibre experience shows the record that we have in leading future-reading broadband technology. For example, we delivered the UK’s first resi 10GB connection. Customers love us too – we are rated excellent on Trustpilot with thousands of five-star reviews.
Looking ahead to next month, therefore, we are really excited to get our BTR product rolling. Our service, flexibility, speed, reliability and value means that we are ready to tap into this booming market, and we hope that you can join us along the way.
• Hyperoptic is the UK’s hyperfast broadband provider
• Leading the charge to rollout gigabit-capable broadband with average speeds of up to 900Mbps
• Trusted partner of over 250 developers and 50 councils
• Awarded the ‘Best Superfast Broadband’ provider by the Internet Service Providers’ Association for six years running
• Offering a game-changing broadband service for BTR with site-wide wifi, guest wifi, footfall analytics, a management portal and competitive pricing for all-inclusive tenancy billing