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Plan for Fiber Now, Profit from Fiber Later

Home builder standing on house frame

As low mortgage rates and a booming economy continue to drive housing starts, builders and developers are pushed to offer increasing levels of amenities to make their homes and communities stand out.

These days, it takes more than premium finishes, kitchen upgrades, and access to a salt-water infinity pool to attract and close discerning, pre-approved buyers. Premium technology upgrades are just as crucial.

Whole-house entertainment systems, high-speed internet-ready living spaces, and video home monitoring systems are all the hallmarks of upmarket housing. And consumer demand for connected housing is growing in all segments.

No matter what segment of the marketplace target, building in fiber internet service to your properties gives them a valuable point of differentiation from your competition.

Why Fiber?

At the heart of a home’s IT infrastructure is TV/Internet/phone service. Once delivered via coaxial cable and copper wire, the media and communications demands of the typical family largely overwhelm the traditional pipelines provided by the cable and phone companies.

With normal broadband, internet and cable TV enter the house as electrical signals through copper wires. Signal is piped from a nearby network switch to the house, then into cable TV receivers and internet gateways.

With fiber optic internet service, everything comes into your house as pulses of light through a fiber optic line. Your fiber provider connects a dedicated fiber line from the network switch to your house. When it enters the house, the signal from the fiber optic cable is distributed to your set-top boxes and internet gateway.

Nothing moves faster than light. In fact, electricity moves at just a tenth of the speed of light in a fiber optic cable. So because the signal moves through a fiber optic network much, much faster, more signals can move through the fiber in a given period of time.

Fiber Delivers Quick ROI

The upside for developers and property owners is compelling:

  • In 2016, research of MDU properties in the US and Canada showed that residents placed a high value on fiber access, willing to pay premiums ranging from two to eight percent on condo values or rent.
  • Analysis of base financial data from the National Apartment Association determined that “fiber can add 11 percent to net income for MDU owners and operators per average apartment unit.
  • Fiber-delivered internet services boosted the value of a typical home $5,437 – that’s as much as an additional fireplace or half-bath.
  • Homes with 1 Gbps fiber access saw transaction prices more than 7 percent higher than comparable properties with slower 25 Mbps.

Whether you’re building new single residences or looking to do tech upgrades on a multi-dwelling unit (MDU), investing in fiber during build-out pays solid dividends.

What Kind of Fiber?

Fiber internet is fast. But the way it gets from central office to a residence can differ based on local availability, whether you’re installing in greenfield, brownfield, or MDU settings, and a host of other factors. Here’s a quick primer.

FTTH – Fiber To The Home is 100-percent end-to-end fiber internet delivery from the central office to the neighborhood, then from the neighborhood’s trunk lines to a residence’s pedestal/handhole then directly to the side of the house itself.

FTTN – Fiber to the Neighborhood (or Node) uses fiber from the central office into the neighborhood. From there, some flavor of copper-based DSL is used to distribute signal to individual residences. There are performance decreases however based on the number of customers sharing the copper line and the distance from the node switch.

FTTB – Fiber to the Building (or Basement) in MDUs delivers fiber to the building, where existing or new wired or wireless networking distributes it to the individual residential units

FTTC – Fiber to the Curb (or Cabinet) is similar to FTTB in that fiber runs from the CO to the cabinet or curb near multiple nearby residences.

While the 100-percent fiber delivery of FTTH provides the ultimate in speed, your fiber provider will be able to familiarize you with the options available to you that deliver the best combination of price and features.

More Content Faster

The typical American household has five streaming devices … a couple of mobile phones, a tablet, a gaming console and a laptop. And nearly 20 percent of American households are “hyper-connectors,” with 10 or more devices. Which means a lot of data consumption.

With speeds up to 1 Gbps, only fiber can deliver everything homeowners demand bandwidth for …HD movies, sports, TV shows, gaming … without of the lag time and buffering that brings the action to a screeching halt.

Home theaters aren’t the only living spaces that need support for big, fast data pipes. Consumers have come to expect crystal clear high-def content no matter what screen they use or where they use it.

Bandwidth Powers Business No Matter Where It’s Based

Beyond personal or family use, telecommuters, remote workforces and anyone working a flexible schedule all rely on the high-speed, no-drop reliability of fiber. Bandwidth-intense video conferencing, file sharing, and real-time collaboration work together to eliminate the distance between workers and their home offices. To make that happen, more homeowners than ever are demanding the near-enterprise-level of stability and speed that only fiber can deliver.

In project after project, the availability of 1 Gbps fiber internet (and faster!) leads to increased usage: gigabit internet users report being online 8 hours per day compared with an overall average usage of just 2.5 hours per day in non-gig-speed residences. 

Better bones from the beginning.

So what steps can developers take to ensure their projects can deliver fiber’s premium speed and stability experience?

To get started, contact your area’s fiber provider for an initial design consultation. Incorporating fiber at the site plan stage ensures you will have the information needed to plan for and secure needed permits.

For new (greenfield) neighborhoods, dedicated fiber conduit is installed for trunk lines during infrastructure build-out, at the same time that power lines are run. Conduit can be provided by the fiber provider or can be installed by the developer.

In existing neighborhoods, fiber can be run through an existing vacant conduit and the cable provider will place its own pedestals or handholes. In the event that no open conduit exists, the fiber provider will need to install its own conduit.

Between the curb and the house itself, it’s easiest for the provider to run fiber from the pedestal to the residence prior to construction, while the trenches are still open.

Fiber’s Finally Growing Outside The Urban Core

Until recently, economic pressures and high installation costs limited the reach of fiber internet networks.

United Communications is helping change that. Working closely with municipalities, builders, and developers, United is bringing high-speed, high-definition fiber internet to new communities and MDUs throughout Middle Tennessee.

United’s world-class internet service already passes over 23,000 homes and businesses in Middle Tennessee. We currently serve portions of Antioch, Brentwood, Franklin, Nolensville, College Grove, Chapel Hill, Shelbyville, Lewisburg, Unionville, Fosterville, Estill Springs, Belfast, and Flat Creek, and are actively expanding our service area every day.

Getting Started

Whether you’re starting with a clean sheet of paper, or you’ve broken ground, or you’ve just closed on an existing MDU, fiber’s a great, cost-effective way to increase your selling price or net income.

In Middle Tennessee, developers or HOAs can contact United Communications’ Chief Business Development Officer, Josh Lynch, at jlynch@gounited.net or 931-536-1861.