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Thursday, 4 September 2008

FTTH advice for property developers

What do you ask your FTTH provider if you are looking to turn a new housing estate into an Intelligent Community? This article offers good advice to anyone considering the FTTH route in new-build, and reminds me of why we planned The End Game Conference back in 2005, came up with the break out sessions we did, and invited so many property developers!!

Although the climate for property development is a tad grim here in the UK at the mo, it may be that those property developers who seek to innovate in the homes that they do build can corner the market, increase the value of those homes they build, even in a declining property market, and establish a reputation when the market does recover for experience in the field of next gen homes.

For planning authorities, it is precisely the adoption of such policies that will put their regions in the lead for business investment, and becoming desirable areas in which to live when the economy recovers.

However, we are still seeing a failure by the planning authorities to force developers to build 21st century houses, whether this is environmental (eg insisting that every new home MUST have solar panels, wind generators, methane digesters and so on), or in telecommunications (FTTH, gigabit ethernet wired homes/business premises etc).

This situation needs to change, rapidly, if the UK is to have the basic first mile and first inch infrastructure to deliver FTTH and compete in the global knowledge economy. Much of the failure stems from general 'ignorance' in the UK still about the importance of FTTH, and hence the vital need to start including it in the planning, design, and build of new homes and business premises. This is not so difficult to change with an education and evangelism policy, although that education needs to be aimed as much at those governing the country as those intended to consume the FTTH!

There is however already a comprehensive ICT toolkit available to all property developers and planning authorities in the UK, which does offer assistance in uncovering the answers to the questions UK property developers and planners will need to resolve in order to build next gen homes.

Technology may have moved on, but one of the joys behind the Toolkit was that it didn't propose actual technologies, and therefore it hasn't aged unduly and become dated. Well done to those at EMDA who funded this ICT Toolkit (I think Alan Srbljanin was a key thinker), and if you build houses and business units (or even self-build), or are a planner, it is well worth a look.

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