PCCW Global
4 Feb 2020

Why we must deliver fast broadband to retirement properties

Internet usage by the older generation is growing steadily year on year. Someone retiring at aged 65 today will have spent a significant part of their lives making use of the internet. Whether it's at work or at home, being online today is critical to these people yet many developments aimed at those who have retired have been ignored by broadband providers.

The broadband connectivity market has for too long focused almost exclusively on delivering services to the younger generation such as students and those who live in city centre apartment complexes. Today these sectors are extremely well served, delivering fast and reliable services to millions of people. However despite our ageing population there's been very little focus on delivering connectivity to this growing sector.

Retirement living, often in specially designed communities is growing in popularity. There's a growing trend for those of 60 or over to downsize their property and cash in on the growth in the house values, freeing up valuable cash to enjoy later life or to help their own children. This increase in demand has seen a number of developments growing up around the country with many more planned.

This demographic is traditionally seen as lacking in digital skills and interest in technology and as a result many developments are built with only basic services. This view is increasingly out of date and actually when you start to think about it you can see why. A large number of those approaching retirement or having done so will have spent a great deal of time using connected services for many years. Whether it's paying bills, accessing banking or using email and social networks, today's typical 60+ person is technically capable and reliant on technology. Moreover, with increased years of good health, more older people enjoy getting out and about and will choose to catch up on demand their favourite TV shows or films rather than watching them live or even control their heating via a smartphone whilst they are out.

All of these developments increase the demand for fast, reliable and affordable connectivity. The trends are only likely to continue too with the continued growth of IoT devices, higher quality 4k video and the shift to more services online.

So what's clear is that developers and managers who are investing in retirement living must give some serious thought to the type and quality of the connectivity provided in their developments. They need to work with providers who can deliver the fastest and most reliable connectivity who make use of full fibre technology. Only by adopting this approach can residents access the services they expect to be able to without them grinding to a halt because of a lack of available bandwidth.

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