British construction firm the Berkeley Group is teaming up with Openreach in a plan to connect most of its new developments in the UK with full-fiber FTTP ultra-broadband.
New-home buyers expect ultra-broadband availability from day one, said Berkeley CEO Rob Perrins in a statement. If the developer does not deliver it risks the chance of losing buyers, he said.
"For new home buyers, high-speed broadband has almost become a given now. It is like the power steering on a car; no one asks whether the car they're buying has it anymore," said Perrins. "If we weren't able to offer fiber, I think there would be the real prospect of some people walking away from property sales. It is definitely a factor in the decision-making process for people buying new homes."
With ultra-broadband in place, new householders can immediately tap into Openreach services such as smart home, security, pay-TV, Internet, phone and more. Speeds can reach up to 1 Gbit/s, according to the operator.
Openreach launched a program to work with developers in February 2016, initially offering the greenfield service at no charge to construction sites of 250 homes or more. It then opened up the complimentary service to developments with 100 homes; in November, Openreach expanded the offering to sites with 30 or more houses.
To date, the BT subsidiary has partnered with developers to deliver ultra-broadband to about 586,000 premises in 2,400 developments. Openreach intends to deliver ultra-broadband to up to 12 million homes and businesses by year-end 2020.
Home construction is on the rise in the UK: For the 12 months ending March 2017, new-home construction starts grew 15% to 162,880 houses versus the prior year. Completions hit 147,960, up 6% compared with last year, reported Britain's Department for Communities and Local Government.
This is far from the only instance where service providers and contractors have seen synergies in their offerings. In March, for example, network infrastructure provider FTE Networks acquired Benchmark Builders. That deal "immediately created a combined $261 million project backlog for FTE and Benchmark for 2017," the provider announced in its first-quarter revenue earnings release. (See FTE Adds Construction to Its Fiber Diet)
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.
(Home page photo source: Berkeley Group)