New search engine helps shoppers bridge the digital divide in rural areas

Fiber Homes announced that the nation’s first search tool for fiber-based web services can be instrumental in helping the growing remote workforce make critical home buying decisions. .

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A company in Columbia, South Carolina, has launched a service that allows real estate agents and their buying clients to determine the quality of a property’s Internet service.

Fiber Homes announced that the nation’s first search tool for fiber-based web services can be instrumental in helping the growing remote workforce make critical home buying decisions. . It can also play an important role in bridging the digital divide that separates much of rural America.

The search engine is available on FiberHomes.com.

“The last thing you want to worry about once you’ve moved into a new home is a substandard internet connection,” Fiber Homes CEO Robert Gilbert said in a statement. “In the world we live in today, with people getting their entertainment, work assignments, and even medical care through HD online streaming services, fiber services are as essential as gas connections, electricity and water.”

The company claims its website is the only one to offer “certified fiber availability at the address level.” It gets its content from website providers, according to the release.

Realtors will be able to access the service through Fiber Homes Pro, an account service that can accompany the listing of marketing materials and other outreach efforts that help sell a home. Given the widespread availability of fast Internet service in urban areas, Fiber Home Pro will most likely appeal to those serving more rural markets, many of which have seen steady growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buyer agents can use the site to share specific information about a vendor and its services and access new owner discounts.

Fiber Homes is initiating partnerships with several listing services to add fiber availability and service ranking to listing data, according to the announcements.

Sharing relocation resources, such as utility companies, landscapers, contractors, and many other forms of service providers, is a common added value for real estate agents. A number of web-based moving and relocation coordination consultants also offer it. MoveEasy and MooveGuru are two examples.

Internet service quality is an increasingly critical selling point, especially in the luxury segment.

The Pew Research Center reported that 40% of Americans started using the internet in new and different ways during the pandemic. Fifty-eight percent said the internet was essential to them, up from 53% in 2020.

“A study by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Michigan found that adding a high-speed fiber optic connection to a single-family home could increase its value by about $5,500,” said the appraisal firm McKissock.

McKissock also cited a CNET story that Washington State requires listing agents to provide web services information in their real estate marketing.

Broadband service also remains a challenge for large swathes of America, a fact lost on many. Rural internet service is a key part of the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, of which $65 billion has been allocated.

The Fiber Homes and its Pro service are doing a great job spreading the message of what good web service means to those who are excluded from the digital age, said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, in the press release.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen something of a ‘rural renaissance’, as people seek to escape city life – but they still want to be connected,” Bloomfield said. “Fiber Homes has done an amazing job of launching a must-have service for anyone looking to find out if their dream rural home is connected to fiber internet services.”

NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association represents approximately 850 independent community telecommunications providers and has partnered with Fiber Homes to promote the value of adopting fiber services in rural communities.

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