This question was asked on twitter this week as to whether this property advert was the first in NZ to feature the proposal to be 'Gigatown-ready'? - it got me thinking about Ultra Fast Broadband int he context of property marketing.
Now Gigatown, if you did not know it is a competition organised by Chorus, which over the next year looks to decide which NZ town becomes the lucky recipient of one gigabit per second internet connection.
Think about it - 1 Gigabit per second - currently copper based broadband is around 10 Megabits per second, that's barely one hundred's the speed, even fibre only gets to 100 Megabits - a tenth of the speed, and poor old dial up modems struggled to get just 56 kilobits per second. Put that in context, an episode of 'Breaking Bad' on iTunes is 1.5Gb in HD - so if you had a gigabit/sec download speed, just a couple of blinks and and its downloaded, but on a dial up modem you would be best to start downloading before heading to bed, as it would take 7 hours and 26 minutes!
Now the property for sale highlighted in the tweet was not as yet, the lucky recipient of one gigabit per second broadband speed, but clearly the agent selling the house Colleen Schofield of Bayleys in the Hawkes Bay was smart enough to recognise the value of marketing a property featuring the fast current broadband access of 100 megabits per second.
This is a trend we are more likely to see in the future and something I think the real estate industry needs to incorporate into the component dataset of facilities in a property for sale. For just as important as the proximity to shops and transport as well as orientation on the section should be the current accessibility of broadband as ADSL or ADSL2 or fibre.
Judging by the current selection of property on the market searching through Trade Me's listing, the real estate industry is not focussing on internet speed as a core component of facilities at properties. There are just 42 properties which include the search term 'ultra fast' on Trade Me Property today. More than half of these are actually future development properties, with just 19 being existing properties.
From the latest government data there are now just under 10,000 homes connected to ultra fast broadband under the initiative which seeks to connect 75% of NZ to such access by 2019 - currently up to around 170,000 premises. On average of the more than 1.7 million properties in NZ around 3% are on the market at any one time - 50,000 properties.
If that ratio of 3% was applied to the number of houses with ultra fast broadband we should see around 290 homes for sale in NZ which have UFB - but we appear to have 19 - something is not right!
The real estate industry needs to ensure that every property listed by an agent has details of the internet connectivity as standard - it is as important as the other utility services and in the case of UFB it is a selling point!