Residential Rural Technology

How can you make your village better connected?

Q3 2018

Villages across the country are enjoying something of a technological revival, as all sorts of property seekers turn their attention to rural locales that combine traditional charm with modern conveniences. For residential rural property buyers, broadband connectivity tops the list of desired conveniences.

Buying a rural property means giving up some of the modern amenities city and suburban property owners take for granted. The payoff, of course, is the peace and tranquility of living in a country idyll. Though many rural buyers never give a second thought to leaving the hustle and bustle behind, staying connected to the rest of the world remains a priority.

The importance of staying connected

In our survey of rural home buyers, entitled The Village Revival: Volume III, access to broadband was a key issue for most. Nearly 50% of survey respondents indicated that broadband access was among the top influencers in their decision-making, whilst 38% of respondents said that mobile connectivity was a driving factor regarding their intent to move to a village.

It’s clear that connectivity is essential for villages hoping to attract buyers and renters. People want to be able to communicate with distant family and friends, conduct business, shop online, even work remotely or start new small businesses from the quietude of a country setting.

Not willing to wait

A number of forward-thinking groups from villages in the UK have embraced the need to stay connected and residents have demonstrated that they are not willing to wait for the government’s recently announced plans to connect rural areas to full fibre-optic broadband by 2033.

Villagers across the Yorkshire Dales, Lancashire and Cumbria have banded together in a grassroots movement to bring lightning-fast internet to some of the country’s most remote locations. What began six years ago as one rural property owner’s simple campaign to connect her farm to a neighbour’s is now poised to expand nationally.

The all-volunteer effort has fielded requests from other rural communities across England and Wales to supply broadband connections there, and aims to follow their successful model to build networks in those villages.

According to Barry Forde, Chief Executive of Broadband for the Rural North, the organisation currently boasts roughly 5,000 subscribers to its impressive 1,000Mbps internet speed – more than 20 times the national average. The group has plans to add 50,000 new subscribers and 100,000 rural properties in their area alone within the next five years.

Strutt & Parker recently embarked on a similar undertaking with the Miserden Estate. We partnered to achieve the installation of fibre-optic broadband and 4G mobile communications in the Cotswolds. Take a look at the video by following this link.

Our pick of the best connected village homes

Woodcock Hill, Sandridge, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL4 – This is a unique residence set in a desirable and secluded location less than 4 miles from St Albans town centre with fibre-optic broadband. The property provides a wonderful opportunity for a discerning buyer to acquire a sizeable family house with further potential subject to planning.

Shillinglee Road, Plaistow, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 – Set against a backdrop of stunning woodland and open countryside, this attractive character family home enjoys a lovely rural location on the fringes of the thriving village of Plaistow, sitting proudly in a sizeable plot extending to 0.4 acres, and with significant scope for extension. The property has benefitted from extensive upgrading including new electrics, plumbing, ultra-fast fibre optic broadband, a brand new boiler and new roof.