/ Technology

Would you move house based on broadband speeds?

House made from computer mouse wire

Online property portal Rightmove is teaming up with BT to list the broadband speed of homes on its website. Would you pay more for a new home that guaranteed faster broadband?

Those looking for a new home no doubt scrutinise the number of bedrooms, the size of the living areas and garden, and the quality of the bathroom and kitchen. But what about its broadband connection?

Prospective buyers will soon be able to see what internet speed they can expect as Rightmove, the UK’s largest property website, has worked with BT to list the speeds of over one million homes.

Predictably, Rightmove will also record whether houses have access to BT’s exclusive 40Mbps Infinity broadband service, which is currently rolling out to homes throughout the UK.

Access to broadband is a postcode lottery

It’s no secret that the type and speed of broadband you can access depends on where you live, even for those within the same city. The service varies dramatically in London, for example, and the situation’s even worse if you dwell in a rural area.

Only today I was speaking to my broadband provider about switching to a faster connection. Yet, it told me that there’s no point as all the other providers in my area piggyback on BT’s infrastructure.

As the operator explained it – switching wouldn’t change either the price or the speed.

Does broadband affect your buying decision?

I’m not about to sell up on the promise of better broadband. I’m far too happy with my view of the South Downs and the Jack and Jill windmills. And my daughter loves the local village school.

However, if we did decide to move, I’d welcome the chance to check out my broadband options as part of the house’s particulars.

For me, broadband is as essential a service as electricity, gas and mains plumbing. I rely on it for my job (I work from home one day a week) and, apart from that, I couldn’t live without the BBC iPlayer, which depends on a decent internet connection.

In the meantime, I welcome Rightmove’s tool, which I hope will make it easier for the general public to see the types of broadband services they can access in their areas.

Moreover, since local businesses and home owners increasingly rely on the internet, rubbish speeds could drive them away from particular areas. If so, hopefully it will put greater pressure on local councils to make the government deliver on its promise to roll out decent broadband to all UK residents – regardless of where they live.


Unless Rightmove puts genuine speeds on its website rather than the usual ‘up to’ speeds advertised by internet service providers, it’s not worth looking at the information never mind moving house.

Sophie Gilbert says:
10 March 2011

I may be looking to move in the near future and braodband speeds never entered my mind. I think I would do without broadband for the right flat/house in the right location at the right price. The braodband speed I get at the moment may as well be dial-up anyway.

Sophie Gilbert says:
10 March 2011

I can spell broadband, honest.

It is maddening not to be able to correct errors. I have asked if we can be allowed to make edit our postings, even if this feature is only available for a short time after a message is posted.

I run discussion forums for students and I always allow users to edit or remove their own messages.

Oops. Delete ‘make’ from the first sentence. Well, I suppose it illustrates my point.

Yes it does! We are aware that it’s annoying not being able to self edit after posting and it’s one of the changes we’re hoping to introduce soon. In the meantime, sorry it’s causing frustration.

Zag says:
10 March 2011

Yes absolutely it does, as someone who works from home regularly it was a very important factor. Only problem now after moving into a city center new build close to the exchange its actually quite hard to get FTTC!

Thanks Hannah. I’m sure that Which? Conversations will become more popular when we know we can correct our mistakes.

Yes, we moved a couple of years ago (used to be near Sarah’s beloved windmills in fact) and broadband connection was definitely one of the criteria for choosing a house. As Sarah says it’s as important to me as any other utility like gas and electricity.
However absolute connection speed wasn’t / isn’t so important to me, I doubt if a 20 meg connection would be the deciding factor in comparison to a house with an 8 meg connection – I’d be looking at other aspects of the house first.

We are moving next week from a new house in Rugby (1.2mb) to an old flat in St Albans (7.5mb)

Whilst we welcome the upgrade in speed, we didn’t move as a result of that, more like saving £700 a month between us on commuting!!

Alice says:
11 March 2011

It’s not just the broadband speed that slows down your computer anyway. I think it depends what you use it for and how cluttered up it is with software running in the background that you thought might be useful but no longer use/need, and which browser etc you use.

I don’t know if the version of Windows etc might also make a difference. (I am still using Windows Xp). I guess it might be useful to get someone in to give the computer an annual “spring clean”. I have not tried this as I don’t understand enough or who to trust with personal info I have stored on it and feel “it’s better the devil you know …”

Also, a lot of websites seem to have errors or are not well designed or the website “designer” does not think the way I think, so I waste more time trying to find the information I want because of trying several menus etc. Obviously this is something I cannot change.

Neil says:
15 March 2011

The main factor (especially at peak times) is the number of users compared to amount of bandwidth you ISP has allocated from the exchange back to their network and beyond. 100 users on a 100Mbit/s connection will only get an average of 1Mbit/s. 5 users on a 10Mbit/s connection will get an average of 2 mbit/s. of course they are other points where they bring user traffic together before you connect to a web site which can also limit speeds further, and then there is the speed of the web server the web site you are connecting to is sitting on.

So for me with a miserly 2Mbit/s broadband, but in a remote rural location with few broadband users gets a better throughput than my sister does on an 8Mbit/s connection in a town.

But yes broadband was definitely a key requirement when we moved house 2 years ago (and would be again). Speed is not the main factor (but I would be looking for at least 2Mbit/s)


Well as I started with a 1200/75 modem (1200 bit send and 75 bit receive) in the bulletin board days – and was only worried if the BT line dropped my connection (which it did often) – Broadband speeds will never enter my decisions on house purchase

Though my Virgin 10 Mbs broadband delivers 9.7 Mbs consistently – a poorer connection would not deter me from moving.

Mike says:
16 March 2011

I use the internet a lot but more for general use not watching films etc . Speed is therefore of moderate importance. However I have recently had several occasions when I was not able to even get a connection and that is more frustrating especially for such things as on line banking.
The system now seems much more reliable but I do not know enough about connections to know whether the fault is with the telephone ADSL line or the ISP or some other factors such as time of day / traffic etc.
If I were moving I would be influenced by knowing there was at least some sort of service available or whether there were cable points( Virgin) already established ( as is the case with some newer housing developments).
I would not however be influenced just by issues around the speed.

The predicted broadband speeds supplied by BT Wholesale which ISPs use is notorious for being conservative and not up to date. So while providing this information is a good move for Rightmove it should be treated with caution if you reject a property because of the slow speed advertised.

If you want to use BBC iPlayer or stream films then consistent speed will be important especially if you are a family with more than 1 PC in use.

Scott Whitrow says:
14 August 2011

great idea and one I need for a moving house decision, I have BT infinity now but am hard pressed to justify moving to a new home of 2Mb especially as I work from home. I may not move to get higher broadband but agree with most that it is now an important priority for those who enjoy technology or are homeworkers.