As a developer, you are already adding fibre to new properties; in fact, you may very well be retrofitting it to old buildings. Why? Because fibre is the digital differentiator. It adds value to a property and is a make-or-break factor in the buying decisions of property and business owners alike.
But who shoulders the cost and when do you deploy it?
As a developer, you are acutely aware that laying fibre infrastructure at the construction phase is the best way to go. Fibre installation is capital intensive, making it critical for you to select the right fibre partner from the outset. Bear in mind that environmental factors, distance and the type of equipment needed should be part of the planning phase, and that a fibre infrastructure expert can assist in this decision-making process. It is therefore important to lay fibre pathways when you are mapping out your utility infrastructure in order to avoid later costs and inconvenience such as additional trenching and expensive reinstatement costs that you would otherwise have to incur.
‘Our model is to bear the cost of laying the infrastructure and to ensure that our technical teams work with your engineers so that the fibre reaches all units, as well as the additional areas – such as gatehouses, security room and common areas – from the outset,’ states Jacques de Villiers at MetroFibre Networx. ‘Furthermore, when laying the fibre MetroFibre also supplies the material, like sleeves and manholes, which is installed at the same time as other utilities, further cutting down costs for developers.
‘If all these bases are covered from the beginning, you can add services such as security cameras and telecommunications when you’re ready. By planning correctly, you can effectively cater for future technologies and services that will require fibre connectivity. Another value-add we provide is to partner with bodies corporate and HOAs, where we provide the required connection to common areas such as clubhouses, swimming pools and other recreational areas,’ he adds.
Not only does fibre add value to a development but, by having it preinstalled, there is a low environmental impact to connection, and it is much easier to extend its benefits when the lights are first switched on in a new property. Some would say that this model is all well and good but it locks the users into a single service provider. And they would be right – but not in the case of MetroFibre, which is a layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3 provider. This means that they will lay the fibre, and the consumer still has the flexibility to choose which internet service provider they would like to use.
‘If you are navigating your fibre options, make sure that your fibre provider traverses the layers, because if they do, you can start being creative and structure a deal where you can leverage off of bulk packages. As an example, if you rent out all of your units, you can include a basic fibre service package in the rental.
‘Additionally, it is a good idea to select a partner who has experience in working with developers and who specialises in mixed-use property development. At MetroFibre we have technical expertise and a dedicated team that works with developers daily and has extensive knowledge of not only the physical laying of fibre, but of all the hidden costs you may incur as a developer if this is not done effectively right from the beginning,’ ends De Villiers.