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Monday Apr 24, 2017

Property buyers eye fast internet

Fibre-optic internet connectivity, with its lightning fast speed and reliability, is the new technological hype in the country, and is also becoming an expectation of property buyers.

Such is the demand - among business people, students, and even just families - most new property developments are being built with fibre installations.

There are many fibre infrastructure players in the market, says Greg Wright, head of product at Webafrica, but these players "carefully select" suburbs in which to roll out fibre, based on income levels, population density, and ease of deployment.

"So while all areas can technically get fibre, it is not to say that all areas will get it."

Wright says people with fibre generally want it for entertainment purposes as people move away from satellite subscriptions to more affordable substitutes like Netflix and Showmax.

Fibre is becoming a basic requirement for life in the modern world, says Rawson Property Group chairman Bill Rawson, and there is a growing demand for new property developments to have fibre optic internet.

"It is sure to have positive effects on property prices and increase the value of the property... A look at Telkom’s fibre coverage map confirms observations, with the highest concentrations of fibre availability showing up in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, and a clear focus on wealthier neighbourhoods."

In Cape Town, Rawson says the affluent Southern Suburbs have "excellent" and "growing" coverage, with other hot spots in luxury areas like the Atlantic Seaboard and Hout Bay.

"Joburg’s fibre network is centred around the upmarket hubs of Rosebank, Sandton and Bryanston, while Pretoria’s luxury suburbs of Groenkloof, Monument Park and Faerie Glen have the most comprehensive coverage."

Seeff chairman Samuel Seeff says our homes and lives are increasingly dependent on reliable internet connectivity. Increasingly, wireless and access at people’s fingertips is "vital".

"The country is frantically laying cabling, new developments are now coming with fibre optic cabling and connectivity, while older areas are being upgraded. There is no doubt that South Africans in every corner of the country are eagerly awaiting the arrival of fibre optic networks."

Cape Town seems to be on a fast-track to getting connected, with reports in February revealing that 800kms of cabling, connecting more than a million residents, had already been completed.

Billy Rautenbach, sales director at Seeff Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, says this includes fibre optic cabling that connects the city’s buildings, bus stations, cameras, and other infrastructure vital for service delivery.

"The high demand neighbourhoods of the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl are also well on the way with fibre-optic cable installation. These include Camps Bay, Bakoven, Fresnaye, Mouille Point, Sea Point, De Waterkant, Oranjezicht, Vredehoek and Tamboerskloof.

"This is a definite drawcard for buyers, and no doubt they will pay a little more for a home that offers mod-cons, especially fast and efficient internet connectivity. These are also high-demand holiday areas with a big portion of apartments and homes rented out to people from across the country and globe, all of whom want fast internet."

Laurie Wener, Pam Golding Properties senior developments executive in the Cape Region, says fibre optic is the new standard in fast internet connectivity.

"It is part of the modern parcel of expectations such as cutting-edge security, green star rating, automation and, in some price brackets, air conditioning."

However, she believes that as far as residential houses are concerned, it makes no difference to the value of the property as access to fibre optic connectivity is "relatively cheaply available". "Where it is not yet provided for, there are other options such as 4G and ADSL."

From the technological side, more affluent and densely populated areas are the targets of fibre suppliers, says Dylan Hunt, Fibre-to-the-Home executive at RSA Web.

"Once they have an area covered and connected they will start looking at other areas... We are in an age where everyone wants to be connected to the internet. The interest is from all areas... home users who are using Netflix, Showmax or YouTube.

"Social media and Skype are used at home more than you would know. Businesses nowadays also rely heavily on connectivity, especially for email and perhaps "Cloud" services. In a nutshell, everyone wants to be connected," Hunt says.

Bonny Fourie
Independent Property
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