Internet Options Changing

Last year, Nest’s Deborah Rutter discussed the methods of connectivity in the Charlottesville area – DSL, cable, and satellite. There’s now a new option for the City of Charlottesville – a fiber internet connection. Nester Jim Duncan offers helpful advice to buyers seeking high speed internet. 

By Jim Duncan

Did you know that internet connectivity is not ubiquitous in the Charlottesville / Albemarle area? We have three providers – Century Link for DSL, Comcast for cable, Ting for fiber (in the City of Charlottesville, for now), but none of these are everywhere.

Did you also know that the FCC has recently changed the definition of broadband internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to change the definition of broadband by raising the minimum download speeds needed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps, and the minimum upload speed from 1Mbps to 3Mbps, which effectively triples the number of US households without broadband access. Currently, 6.3 percent of US households don’t have access to broadband under the previous 4Mpbs/1Mbps threshold, while another 13.1 percent don’t have access to broadband under the new 25Mbps downstream threshold.

Checking and Verifying Internet Connectivity is Critical

With more and more people working at home and cutting the cable cord, internet connectivity is more than a feature, it’s a necessity. Check that you can actually have internet access at a home before you buy – even if you are pretty sure that it’s there. If the house is vacant, determining internet availability can be harder to ascertain; sometimes you may need to initiate a site survey by the prospective internet provider to verify with confidence that you can in fact get access. Your Nest Broker can help you with this step.

Several years ago, this happened to my clients.

The house was occupied by an older couple who had neither cable or internet, and did not know if it was available. Both clients and I called an internet company and they assured us that yes, indeed, they could provide service to the house. My clients work at home and need cable internet.

After closing, we all were surprised to learn that the internet company we had called didn’t actually provide service to that house, but to that street, and by “that street,” they meant across the street. After several months, they were able to get service.

Disclaimers abound

When searching for a home, the Charlottesville MLS has two fields for internet – “DSL Yes/No” and “Cable Yes/No.” But be aware that the MLS also has this disclaimer – “Information provided is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.” So it’s important to validate and verify for yourself.

Great ideas for a buyer to consider:

    • As a buyer, always verify for yourself. Trust the data you see in the MLS and that is provided to your Nest agent and the Seller/Seller’s Realtor to a degree, but always verify for yourself.
    • Ask for a speedtest report from the seller.
    • Get on the seller’s network (with permission) yourself and verify the speed at Speedtest.net
    • When in doubt, make the offer contingent on your receiving satisfactory proof within X days of Contract ratification.
    • Check the National Broadband Map at Broadband.gov
    • Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Jim Duncan is a Partner and Associate Broker at Nest Realty. Jim has lived in the Charlottesville area for the past 28 years, has been a Realtor for over 13 years. Jim writes the well-respected real estate blogs RealCentralVA and RealCrozetVa.

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