The Fiber Factor

Posted: March 21, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Better internet access can boost home values

With the first installations of Flash- Fiber’s new fiber broadband network underway, homeowners throughout the service area can soon enjoy the benefits of gig-speed internet at home, as well as potential boosts in their property values.

Morgan Jones, MarMac Real Estate

“Access to quality internet has become a deciding factor for homebuyers,” says Lawrence County-based real estate agent Morgan Jones of MarMac Real Estate. “I would say nine out of 10 people, the first question they ask is, ‘Can I get internet?’ And they want internet that is reliable. If they can’t get it then they aren’t interested.”

A recent survey by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University reported that fiber optic connections, the fastest type of high-speed internet available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home — equivalent to the value of a fireplace or half the value of a full bathroom.

Another study published by the non- profit Fiber to the Home Council found a fiber broadband connection can raise a home’s value by 3%, and disconnecting a home from broadband would decrease its value by 2.8%.

“People pay for convenience,” Jones says. “People are willing to pay for DoorDash because it’s more convenient to them, and it’s the same with internet access. People are willing to pay more to have the conveniences that internet provides.”

As working from home and virtual learning become new norms, more Americans are turning to country living in search of quality of life.

“We have a lot of people who work in Huntsville at Redstone Arsenal or at NASA and they don’t want the hustle of living in the city and want to live in a more rural area,” Jones says. “For them to make that move, then they have to have internet.”

Bringing a quality internet connection to the area will give all Joe Wheeler EMC members the same opportunities that larger cities currently offer.

“I would say the majority of Lawrence and Morgan counties don’t have access to quality internet, and because of that most people want to live in an area like Trinity or Moulton because they have some options,” Jones says. “Once internet access in our area improves, everyone will have equal opportunities and equal access.”