When it comes to internet for social housing infrastructure is only the start. But it’s an important start. For any landlord who is implementing Digital Inclusion strategies, getting the right infrastructure in place is vital. Finding the right broadband for housing associations providers is just as important.
Whether its internet for new developments you are looking for or Wi-Fi in exisiting properties, here is a checklist of things to think about before committing to one provider.
Up to Speeds
The broadband speed normally advertised by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ranges from 17 Mbps to over a 100 Mbps. Despite this, if you look closely the adverts says “up to” which means that the actual speed/consistency of the speed you receive will probably be lower or variable. Speed is significantly impacted by the location of different properties. Another contributing factor that will affect your new build Wi-Fi is that the speed degrades. This happens as it goes from the cabled broadband connection through to the device being used (iPad, laptop, Smartphone) over Wi-Fi.
Once the broadband speed has finally reached your router it will broadcast the Wi-Fi signal to your devices. The speed you get on your device will depend on several factors, but the most important one is Wi-Fi signal strength. A strong and stable Wi-Fi signal will mean that more bandwidth (speed) will be distributed to the devices connecting to the network. But as you may know, this is heavily linked to where the equipment is located in the property. The further you get away from the Wi-Fi equipment, the weaker the signal will become resulting in a slower and more inconsistent service. The signal can also be reduced by interference from your household appliances, neighbouring Wi-Fi networks, people in your house, Bluetooth devices, and your house’s structure and age.
There are still other factors that can make your connection sluggish or unreliable. Things like old/poor cabling, weather conditions, viruses, etc. can all negatively affect the connection. However, one of the biggest reasons is that one of the tenants is hogging the bandwidth! The wi-fi speed has to be shared across all connected devices and the number of Wi-Fi devices per tenant in a multiple occupancy house is increasing every year and currently stands at just under 4 per user. A typical service would give priority to the first device connected to the network.
All of these points are very important when it comes to Wi-Fi. At the end of the day often cost is a big factor. However this should not be the case because this is a cost you can actually pass as an onward rental or service charge, so it’s the tenant paying for the service. Therefore making the service cost neutral.
But what about having to add the cost and hassle of managing the service? Well, that depends on the service provider you choose. You may think that choosing a high street, one size fits all kind of solution because it costs less is the best choice. However, in that case, adding internet will increase your cost to serve (a cost you are looking to reduce anyway) because you will have to handle any problems and support yourself as the first port of call. Choosing a managed solution means the management is done by the internet serviced provider and included in the cost.
How can we help
We’re landlords, too. We understand what’s important to tenants and their expectations around the availability of connectivity in rentals. Understanding the specifics relating to housing association Wi-Fi is in our blood. Knowing what’s possible from a technical point of view is our profession.
Our broadband for housing associations was created specifically for the rented sector. Our services range from designing and installing digital infrastructures through to delivering ongoing connectivity for residents. It is is run through a fully managed broadband service. Therefore, we are ideally placed to help you navigate the road to digital empowerment.