A Midlands developer is installing hyperfast broadband across three of its major residential developments as the shift towards working from home continues, even as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

Property developer, Urban Village Group, has teamed up with full-fibre broadband provider, Hyperoptic, to offer its hyperfast broadband at competitively priced rates to the residents of the three developments.

Four Oaks House in Sutton Coldfield, a £14m mixed-use development of luxury apartments and office space will benefit from the enhanced connectivity, as will £13m residential development Knights House. Equinox, a prestigious-three floor residential development in Leicester will also receive the improved and competitively priced broadband.

Since lockdown started, the majority of employees who are not furloughed or keyworkers, have been working from home, but broadband connectivity has caused issues nationwide, exacerbated by increased use – Ofcom report that weekly daytime traffic has increased by as much as 60 per cent since March.

While a slow transition back to work has begun, many companies might be looking at a ‘new normal’ which could include more flexible, home-based working or, for some, even relinquishing traditional office space altogether. A recent survey from mobile provider O2 found that a third of respondents expect to increase the days they work from home by at least three after lockdown, and 81 per cent expect homeworking to increase by at least one day.

Broadband speeds have been a selling point for tenants for a long time but since the start of the current pandemic they have become a more important property feature than ever. Knights House, a prestigious development in the centre of sought-after Sutton Coldfield, is a hotbed for young professionals working from home during lockdown, boasting 63 apartments including twelve penthouses. Similarly, Four Oaks, which is currently under construction, is in a highly desirable area and likely to attract busy, career-driven professionals who could be adapting to a new way of working post-pandemic.

Nick Sellman, Urban Village Group CEO, said: “Tenants’ expectations within our developments are evolving all the time, and our managing agents, Centrick, has reported that enquirers are placing more emphasis than ever on broadband speed and connectivity. As the working world shifts, post-Covid-19, being able to offer hyperfast broadband at these rates will add value to these developments, keeping them desirable and well adapted to modern living.”

Andy Butt, Group Sales and Lettings Director at Centrick added: “Fast broadband has become one of the first things we are asked about by potential tenants since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Broadband speeds shot to the top of priority lists as people have been forced to work and study from home – patchy or slow coverage is just not something that people can accept at the moment.”

Hyperoptic installs fibre all the way into developments, as opposed to traditional broadband providers that only run fibre to the green box at the end of the street. This speeds up connectivity and eliminates peak-time slowdowns. Its gigabit broadband package (1,000Mbps) makes it possible to download a 5GB high definition film in 42 seconds. In February, Hyperoptic was voted the fastest broadband provider in the UK in comparison site, Broadband Genie’s analysis of 91,000 speed tests.

Liam McAvoy, Senior Director of Business Development, Hyperoptic: “We are pleased to be providing Urban Village with the gold standard of broadband connectivity. Our full fibre infrastructure meets and exceeds the connectivity requirements of residents – it also provides the foundation for any technology to be incorporated, enabling a true smart home.”