Areas and Places

Broadband speed is now an ‘essential’ in suburb selection

“Fast broadband connectivity is an essential requirement for today’s home buyers, and there is an increasing awareness in the market of suburbs that don’t have it,” says Ronald Ennik, CEO of Christie’s International-affiliated Ennik Estates.

“It is clear that this is now a steadily unfolding market trend which all areas with reputations for bad connectivity should note.

“Furthermore, it is a trend that will gather momentum as reliance on electronic devices intensifies – particularly among home-based SMMEs and work-from-home individuals, who need quick connection speeds to function effectively,” says Ennik.

Ironically, it has taken the community of one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs, Parkhurst (circa 1904), to come up with a new age solution – by investing in its own, dedicated, broadband infrastructure.

“Owned and run by a privately owned service provider, the Parkhurst network will roll out high-speed, fibre-based connectivity to all homes and businesses in the suburb on an open access basis,” says Cheryl Labuschagne, chair of PRABOA, the local Residents’ Association, which has been driving the project.

“This is the first time that an open (non-gated) community in Johannesburg will be fully covered by its own fibre connectivity,” she adds.

Suburban upliftment

“The Parkhurst initiative reflects the important role that active, dedicated residents’ associations can play in preserving, and uplifting, the suburbs and communities they serve,” says Ennik.

“There is little doubt that, once it is up and operating, the Parkhurst broadband service will add some value to properties within its borders. Furthermore, adjacent communities, and other connectivity-challenged residential areas, are likely to monitor it with keen interest,” he adds.

“One Johannesburg area that won’t need to do so is Sandton, which enjoys one of the five highest average broadband download speeds in the country,” Ennik concludes.