The third great utility

by Andy Bryenton

You wouldn’t build a new home without consulting with a plumber, or rely on running hosepipes through your rooms to connect the sink and toilet. You’d never think about leaving out electricity or nailing high-voltage cables to the baseboards in every room. So why plan a new build, with the luxury of absolute design freedom, and forget about the third big utility — data?

These days, nearly every area of the home relies on the internet. From smart TVs that bring us the latest entertainment (and will soon deliver crisp, 4K footage of classic World Cup Rugby action), through to fridges, which can reorder vital supplies, appliances and the ‘internet of things’ are fast catching up with the more conventional bandwidth users like PCs, gaming consoles and laptops. The average Kiwi family now owns a whopping ten net-capable devices. That’s one phone each, two computers, two tablets, a smart television and a console. That’s just for starters.

When designing a new build, or pulling the walls down for a renovation, think about reticulating cable and adding more hardpoints to connect to the web. There’s also the option to plan the positioning of routers and signal boosters for sprawling homes with big footprints. Too often the router, gateway to all the knowledge in the world, is relegated to a wonky shelf snarled in wire, or a corner where it can get knocked over by the dog. For the farm, or lifestyle blocks with sleepouts and second flats, a wireless link can be a godsend. Then there’s the ability to lock down security with cameras connected to cloud-based storage, or to monitoring systems that can alert your phone to any intrusions. Lines of sight and perfect placement are easy to establish with an architect and builder, rather than as an afterthought.

Finally, there’s no need to despair if your new build is planned for the countryside. Wireless broadband has advanced to the point where old copper wires are left in its dust.

Get connected during the build process by talking to your local internet service provider, who should be able to advise on the best way to future-proof your home for the tech advances of the 2020s!