Residential property is undoubtedly a strategic investment that yields good returns and can be a sustainable form of income for property owners. The resilience of the real estate market has been reflected in the rise of new residential estate developments. We are seeing new developments mushrooming in the metros, small cities, and some remote areas of South Africa — and some of these developments come with high-end fibre connectivity.
For investors and home buyers, finding an ideal home is not just about safety and security, or access to schools and other amenities, it is also about access to high-speed, high-quality and reliable internet. Broadband network infrastructure provider Openserve has partnered with developers and Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) across South Africa to get more homes connected to its fibre network, as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many residents to work and learn from their homes.
Fibre connectivity elevates the value of your property
According to the FTTH Council, installing fibre can boost your property value by R50 000 more as it is easier to lure potential buyers or tenants if a home has secure fibre connectivity. In the age of remote-working, seamless internet connectivity has become a necessary tool for many households as work, learning and play all happen at home. As we grapple with the uncertainties of the pandemic, many organisations have adopted remote and hybrid work models, allowing employees to work from home and remotely, indefinitely. This requires a kind of connectivity that enables residents to access cloud-based services, play video games and access data at a fast rate.
HOAs and estate developers also have the opportunity to use the fibre network to do more than just provide high-speed internet to residents. A solid fibre network can also be used to advance the security systems of the residential estate or community. This increases the safety of the area and therefore elevates the attractiveness of the residential area to potential homeowners and tenants. Fibre network also enables businesses in the area such as coffee shops, restaurants, and lifestyle centres to provide internet access to customers.
Fibre opens up a whole new world, beyond broadband connectivity. Furthermore, the fibre network can be used as a cost-effective technology for delivering other value-added services such as communication among residents, delivering community access television channels for targeted advertising and shared content from broadcasters such as DSTV.
Why fibre is a financially viable connectivity option
When weighing up connectivity options that sufficiently cater to residential areas, fibre has the upper hand as it provides high speeds, low latency, secure communication, better video and audio quality, and it allows for households to seamlessly connect multiple devices simultaneously. Fibre offers higher reliability levels compared to other connectivity options as it is less prone to weather disturbances, and it is also less susceptible to theft.
If fibre network providers install the fibre infrastructure, manage, and support it end-to-end, internet service providers (ISPs) can then resell it to the end consumer with their own packages. This makes it much cheaper for the end consumer and they get more value out of it.
To enjoy reliable connectivity that suits their specific needs, residents need to have the flexibility to select their preferred ISP and suitable packages. To cater to the specific connectivity requirements of residents, property developers and HOAs have the option to choose a broadband infrastructure service provider that offers an open-access network. By choosing an open access fibre network, residents then have the freedom to choose their preferred ISP that fulfils their connectivity requirements.
Expanding the fibre footprint beyond urban areas
As remote working has become the new normal, this may encourage people to move away from the large metros and migrate to small towns and remote areas across South Africa. With the growing demand for connectivity in these areas, open access fibre network service providers are expanding their fibre footprint into less populated areas of the country to connect more households and estate developments.
While fibre rollout in non-urban areas may be a costly exercise, the case for rolling out fibre networks in such areas becomes stronger if there is a significant demand for connectivity among residents. Previously, fibre network providers would roll out fibre only in higher LSM areas, metros and suburbs, but we are now seeing a trend of fibre network operators venturing out to mid-low LSM areas and second- and third-tier towns as the demand for reliable connectivity in these areas increases.
Openserve has partnered with developers and HOAs across the country who recognise the crucial role that internet connectivity plays in terms of creating quality lifestyle housing. To connect HOAs and estates to our network, we provide free installation and conduct a detailed site visit that can help us to better understand their fibre requirements.
The future of fibre connectivity
Fibre connectivity will become a crucial selling point for property developments and HOAs as its low latency, high speed and reliability will enable households to successfully unlock the world of home automation. Emerging digital trends such as the Internet of Things, home automation and advanced security systems all require high bandwidth that can only be achieved through technology solutions such as fibre.
The ability to provide reliable, high-speed, and affordable internet connectivity is a major determinant for many potential buyers and residents, and we are expecting to see this trend continue as the world becomes more immersed in the digital experience. Fibre is the cheapest form of connectivity per gigabyte in terms of high-speed connectivity — in the future, selling a property with no fibre network may deter potential buyers.