Determining Broadband Availability in the Charlottesville MSA

For many of my clients, particularly those who work at home, internet is a more important service that water or electricity. The internet is mission- and life- critical for many people

A reader asks –

Hi, Jim: I’m amazed and annoyed that most listings do not mention internet service, nor do RE sites include that information as a search parameter. Knowing the availability – and speed – of internet connection is especially necessary when seeking a home outside Charlottesville. Short of investigating through local ISP’s for particular addresses or neighborhoods, do you have any suggestion? I do not trust sellers or, frankly, seller’s agents, to know or tell the truth.

In the Charlottesville area, the City of Charlottesville and the urban ring definitely* have broadband connectivity, as do many (most?) of the more densely-populated areas of Greene, Louisa, Louisa. * Definitely = 99% sure.

My suggestions and insight to ascertain broadband connectivity in the Charlottesville area:

1a – Ask your buyer broker. A good one is going to know with reasonable accuracy whether an area is likely to have internet service.

1b – If you’re really interested, the only way to ensure there is broadband service is to contact the service provider. In the Charlottesville MSA, we have Comcast, Embarq, Blue Ridge Internetworks, Verizon in some of the outlying areas, and a couple smaller fiber providers. *Nelson County just lost some broadband connectivity.

2 – A note to listing agents: when a buyer asks, “does this house have internet?” they aren’t asking about Wildblue or dial-up.

3 – I’ve asked the fine folks who power the “search for homes” feature of my site to add internet availability as a search option, (Update: I no longer have this search function) but here’s the problem: GIGO. Just last year, the Charlottesville MLS added “internet availability” to the list of features listing agents can select, joining the ranks of # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, acreage, etc.
But … As “internet availability” isn’t a required field in the MLS, it’s liable to be left out. And as we all know – if it’s blank, it’s not searchable. Thus, the search and results will be inaccurate, not useful, frustrating and bad for everyone – buyers searching, sellers trying to sell and agents running real estate blogs. 🙂

4 – To the trust aspect – get a good buyer broker who you can trust. I’ll address this aspect in more detail with clients. As clients said recently about the photos some realtors take to market their properties – “All pictures tell a story, and some aren’t true.”

5 – I wish that the internet service providers would offer maps and overlays to let people determine where service is, but presumably that information is a competitive thing for them.

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