Digital connectivity has become an essential amenity for landlords and tenants in the commercial property market. Prospective tenants searching for new premises today consider bandwidth a provision as important as location and cost.
As a result, landlords now need to be tuned into an occupier’s needs in this area as much as the other services that they offer.
More organisations are taking advantage of the cloud than ever before, with UK businesses’ cloud adoption rate reaching 88% overall in 2017. Evidently, access to cost-effective, reliable, and future-proof broadband is crucial. When scouring the market for their next premises, occupiers should ask potential landlords what fibre-based services are available. Likewise, if you are a landlord, think about what investment is needed for your current and future tenants that will ensure that you can meet their needs and remain competitive. This applies not only to offices but also to industrial, warehouse and retail property.
You might be asking, “Why do I need full-fibre connectivity when my building already has copper-based connections?” Copper, commonly known as ADSL, is Victorian-age infrastructure and although we’ve done well to stretch it for more bandwidth over the years, the efficiency has long peaked and is rapidly becoming unfit for purpose.
ADSL is mainly under the control of Openreach, where speeds rarely reach over 3 or 4 Mbps on this infrastructure. Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, or FTTC (in the street), is a half-and-half solution, taking state-of-the-art fibre connectivity from cabinet to cabinet but still relying on legacy copper to run from the cabinet into the property. It’s the copper that creates a bottleneck and while the fibre transports data effectively, the copper ‘last mile’ can easily become overloaded, causing speeds to dramatically reduce.
Full-fibre is the ideal solution for the future of the UK’s digital connectivity. With fibre running the entire way from a data centre into each individual property, commercial tenants will have a seamless experience with plenty of bandwidth to handle all of their day-to-day traffic.
The Government shares the commitment to expanding full-fibre connectivity to develop areas of the country and their economies. This is why they have just launched a voucher scheme to assist SMEs in reducing the cost of installing gigabit-capable services and to encourage investment. Previously, the only option for tenants who wanted direct acesss to fibre in a building was to get their own costly traditional ‘leased line’ installed; but with the market moving at a rapid pace more cost-effective solutions are opening up.
CityFibre have selected Reading as a “Gigabit City” as it is perfectly placed to develop and benefit from over 40km of full-fibre network. Every Gigabit City provides local private businesses, and public sector organisations such as local authorities and the health and education sectors, with state-of-the-art digital infrastructure capable of meeting connectivity and communication needs for decades to come.
Landlords and tenants in Reading can access the independently owned CityFibre network through 500Mbps and 1000Mbps active services. Landlords introducing ultrafast connectivity into their premises will retain their customer organisations and increase the value of their property. In addition, properties advertised as ‘Gigabit enabled’ will become particularly attractive to prospective tenants. Dormant existing fibre (dark fibre) and ethernet connectivity alternatives are also available to commercial buildings that wish to connect directly or have high capacity or bespoke requirements.
The applications of ultrafast broadband are numerous, and will only grow as we continue to embed technology in our day-to-day lives. Our digital connectivity is either a barrier to growth and innovation, or a catalyst for economic and social development. Reading is now at the forefront of this movement and as long as landlords push data to the top of their agenda, the area will have the opportunity to outperform its competition both in the UK and abroad.
For more information contact:
Partner, Haslams Surveyors LLP