New Search Engine Helps Buyers Span Digital Divide In Rural Areas

Fiber Homes announced that the nation’s first-of-its-kind search tool for fiber-backed web service can be instrumental in helping the ever-increasing remote workforce make critical homebuying decisions.

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A Columbia, South Carolina company has launched a service to empower real estate agents and their homebuyer clients to determine the quality of a property’s internet service.

Fiber Homes announced that the nation’s first-of-its-kind search tool for fiber-backed web service can be instrumental in helping the ever-increasing remote workforce make critical homebuying decisions. It can also play a big role in spanning the digital divide separating much of rural America.

The search engine is available at FiberHomes.com.

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

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

Real estate agents will be able to access the service through Fiber Homes Pro, an account service that can accompany listing 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 who serve more rural markets, many of which have been growing steadily since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buyer agents can use the site to share specific information about a provider and their services and access discounts for the new owner.

Fiber Homes is initiating partnerships with multiple listing services to add fiber availability and service rankings into 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 value-add for real estate agents. A number of web-based moving coordination and relocation advisors provide it as well. MoveEasy and MooveGuru are two such examples.

Quality of internet service is an increasingly critical selling point especially in the luxury segment.

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

“A study conducted 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 around $5,500,” said appraisal education firm McKissock.

McKissock also cited a CNET story that reported the state of Washington requires listing agents to provide web service information in their property marketing.

Broadband service also remains a challenge for large swaths of America, a fact lost on many. Rural internet service is a key part of the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, in which it was allotted $65 billion.

The Fiber Homes and its Pro service is doing great work by spreading the message of what good web service means to those left out of the digital era, said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, in the press release.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a bit of a ‘rural Renaissance,’ as folks look to escape city life – but they still want to be connected,” Bloomfield said. “Fiber Homes has done a terrific job launching an indispensable service for anyone who is looking to find out whether the rural home of their dreams is connected to fiber internet services.”

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

Email Craig Rowe





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