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UKAA Webinar: The Impact of COVID-19 on a full fibre network presented by Hyperoptic & SAY Property

Thursday 9th July 2020

The challenges surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak have been very real and have once again highlighted the need for a fast, reliable broadband connection in our homes.

Our webinar, The Impact of COVID-19 on a full fibre network, features Hyperoptic, SAY Property Consultants and WiredScore discussing the impact of COVID-19 on a full fibre network and the wider effect across real estate.

We also discuss our latest research paper, reminding property owners, freeholders, landlords, developers and property managers about the importance of full fibre broadband and how COVID-19 has accelerated the need to future-proof their broadband infrastructure.

Webinar  write-up

Part one: Tony Mitchell – Hyperoptic

Traffic peaks and trends during COVID-19

When you choose Hyperoptic, you are choosing a future proof technology and a business that has 10 years’ experience, so you’d be in very safe hands.

One the of the capabilities of Hyperoptic is the access network, which is full fibre. It has been built over ten years. It’s Hyperoptic that has been focussed on full fibre for a long time now. Fibre is a relatively new technology, and full fibre in particular, means that our experience gives us a core competence. The more you practise something, the better you get it at it.

We distinguish ourselves in the access layer. We’re full fibre, we’re future proof and our experience means we’re capable of delivering strong performance – even in the most challenging of countenances. Indeed, the current environment has created a very challenging environment indeed.

As COVID-19 entered the UK, it was clear working form home would happen and schools would close, there were a lot of questions about whether carriers and ISPs could cope with peaks. Well in Hyperoptic, absolutely we can manage peaks.

We can do that because a platform is only as strong as its end to end capability – it needs to include end to end fibre. It really needs to be full fibre in the access layer. So, we were comfortable that we would be able to manage peaks during this time.

And peaks have grown. But the other thing we really focussed on was patterns. As covid-19 developed across Europe, we reached out to Telco’s across Europe, in Belgium, Germany Serbia, Luxemburg and others. One particular company helped us understanding changing patterns.

In the left-hand side of the graph you can see a convex profile of traffic, during the day it’s pretty high. Prior to COVID-19 it would have been concave. So, the pattern of traffic has shifted into the working day and put new demands of traffic and demand management. But, as you can see our ability to manage that has been successful.

We’re interested in peaks and patterns, but we’re also very interested in sharp dips. And what you can see here around about 8pm on a Thursday is a sharp dip. That’s when people have been stepping outside to applaud and acknowledge NHS workers and carers that are looking after people in the UK. Interestingly, that dip last week was almost identical to the first week of clapping commenced, so looking at our data the number of people going out to clap is not dropping off.

Part two: Debra Yudolph – SAY

A Connection to Tomorrow

What was clear from the research, is that there is absolute agreement on the importance of the internet and connectivity from the real estate industry. It’s considered to be the most important innovation in the last 20 years and is firmly recognised as the fourth utility.

The world has changed, and the speed of change is likely to be greater and more critical due to COVID-19. Places will be designed differently and implementing new technologies will be critical to both residential and commercial occupation

We’ve been forced to use new technologies, here we are on a Zoom webinar, crossing our fingers that our broadband won’t let us down. But we have to stop considering high speed broadband as an occupational extra, it is the new normal, the fourth utility.

We’re at a turning point, conversations about how places operate, and technology will never be the same again, within the space of a few weeks were having discussion about remote monitoring, air quality and access control, they have become common place, but they weren’t just 8 weeks ago.

Part three: Henry Pethybridge, WiredScore

Interview with WiredScore

Connectivity is such an important part of peoples live, its like the water and heating in people’s houses. You would never expect to move into a building without running water or heating so why would someone move into a house without good quality internet?

If you asked people 5 or 10 years ago about who’s problem the internet was, they would have said it’s the tenant’s problem. But as time has come on, and the BTR and serviced office world has opened up, developers and landlord have started to realise that although it is a service being provided into a building it’s actually their reputational risk. If something goes wrong or the service isn’t high quality, ultimately it impacts the residents experience.

Since COVID-19, conversations have moved on really quickly. Even in the last two weeks, one landlord I spoke to said they had seen as much digital transformation that they would expect to see in 6 months or a year. So, the pace of change has accelerated, and people are becoming more cognisant of the types of technologies in their building.

Now that lots of people are working form home and there’s a shift in how we work long term. How are residential providers going to be expected to match what is seen in commercial buildings? It’s already been happening, some BTR companies are building co working spaces. At the same time, you had companies like google creating offices that looked like people’s homes. Connectivity aside there is a blurring of use cases between the two.

Clearly everyone’s home has now become their office. And we’ve all been testing our internet to the absolute extreme. For our clients at the moment, we’ve been quite reassured that there haven’t been any major issues. But this is partly down to companies like Hyperoptic who have built strong backhauls that are able to deal with the amount of data that we want to pass through a residential home which are kind of similar to what we would have wanted to pass through an office.

But, if you take that further and think about some of the other technologies that are coming down the line, that’s what some developers are doing now, they’re thinking if working from home can happen so quickly, what might be next?

Watch webinar: