Tech-Enabling New Homes

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The list of amenities offered to lure potential home buyers continues to become more elaborate.

May 01, 2003


Approximately what percentage of your planned developments/communities include broadband access?


The list of amenities offered to lure potential home buyers continues to become more elaborate. Developers and builders traditionally rely on creative tactics to differentiate their communities and homes and attract potential buyers.

Today, more and more developers are introducing broadband to their communities, with many requiring that their residents be connected to the Internet and/or to a branded community intranet. This capability is one of the clearest differentiators between new and existing homes.

This initiative occurs most often in master-planned communities where the developer maintains a central role in planning everything from roads to broadband. In many greenfield developments, broadband connectivity is a community cornerstone. Developers are partnering with builders to ensure that the concept of advanced connectivity extends throughout the home, whether through structured wiring, wireless access or Internet appliances.


Builders take an especially active role in introducing these solutions. Compared with in-home broadband technologies such as wireless access or residential gateways, which can be introduced at any time after the home's completion, it is cost-effective to introduce structured wiring only during the home's construction, and thus builders should be aware of and on board with this solution.

The need for structured wiring has been stimulated largely by the growing presence of the Internet, the expansion of personal computers into the home and the growing sophistication of entertainment. The copper wiring installed for POTS (plain old telephone system) service in the 1950s is no longer sufficient to meet the high bandwidth requirements of these modern applications. To meet the bandwidth needs, a market has developed for the design and deployment of residential wiring solutions.


Structured Wiring Components

Structured wiring solutions allow for the integration of voice, data and video services into a central, manageable distribution center or hub. Pieces of the technology are:

Structured Wiring Components

Structured wiring solutions allow for the integration of voice, data and video services into a central, manageable distribution center or hub. Pieces of the technology are:

Structured Wiring Components

Structured wiring solutions allow for the integration of voice, data and video services into a central, manageable distribution center or hub. Pieces of the technology are:

According to a February 2003 In-Stat/MDR survey, it is becoming common for builders and developers to incorporate these various technologies into new homes. Approximately 75% of developer respondents had introduced broadband access into at least a portion of their master-planned communities. More than 50% of respondents included broadband to every home in at least half of their developments, and more than 28% included broadband to every home in all residential developments.

Broadband-connected communities occur across the range of home prices. While these services are being implemented throughout the market in terms of price and geography, home price and location do influence the type of network implemented, whether it be FTTH, DSL or cable.



The In-Stat/MDR survey, a Web-based survey with a total of 579 respondents, targeted residential builders and developers across the United States. The survey focused on developers' plans to introduce broadband into new communities and builders' plans to introduce structured wiring and other technologies into new and retrofit homes.

While the majority of developers are introducing broadband access to their communities, they do not necessarily view broadband as a critical success factor. A little more than 50% of the developer respondents that had introduced broadband were using its availability as a key promotional point in selling the community. Only 4.6% of those respondents said broadband access would be a critical factor to potential home buyers.

Similar to developers, approximately 74% of the 482 builder respondents indicated they offered structured wiring in homes they build. Nearly one-third of those respondents that did install structured wiring offered it as standard in all new homes, and an additional 20% offered structured wiring as standard in certain communities.

According to survey data, in homes priced at more than $250,000, structured wiring is included as standard more frequently. In homes priced at more than $350,000, structured wiring is standard for 33.8% of developer respondents. Developers view broadband as a competitive benefit in attracting buyers but do not heavily exploit its availability in promoting a community. Most builders, 74.1% of respondents, are implementing specialized wiring. Builders, too, are actively deploying structured wiring solutions and generally see a greater number of applications, from entertainment to networked PCs to security, that are driving demand for this solution.


Connected community: every home within a development with a high-speed connection over which any combination of data, video and voice services travels.


Home Automation Inc.:

OmniTouch Controller

A plug-and-play, touch-screen graphical user interface now can be added to HAI's entire line of integrated security and home automation controllers. Lighting, HVAC and other systems all can be controlled via this easily understood, colorful wall pad. This device requires no programming. System changes appear automatically, which allows technicians to make adjustments remotely. For more information, go to or call 800/229-7256.



Decora Media System
Using simple Category 5 phone wire cabling, the Decora Media System allows for the creation of a robust audio/video distribution network that operates in a point-to-point star system topology or a hub-and-spoke topology. All devices fit in standard Decora-style wall plates. Features include RCA inputs for connections directly to A/V devices; Dolby Prologic stereo input and output; and the flexibility to use 110 punch-down blocks and RJ-45 jacks. For more information, go to or call 800/323-8920.


Production Builder Series Home Networking System
Designed to meet basic home networking needs, the Production Builder Series offers an expandable system that starts with six rooms of video distribution and four-line phone connections for up to 10 rooms. A video/data upgrade adds a four-port computer networking router so computers in four locations can access broadband DSL or cable. The same upgrade amplifies video signals for greater picture clarity on eight televisions. Structured wiring packages, lighting control, security, whole-house audio and home theater control are available as separate items. For more information, go to or call 800/836-2312.


Lutron Electronics:

Faedra Series Smart Dimmers

These lighting control switches take the place of traditional light switches and dimmers and add functionality. Tap once, and a preset lighting level gradually goes up. Tap twice, and lights go on to full level. Tap and hold, and lights will fade out in 60 seconds, allowing a homeowner time to walk across the room and exit. These dimmers also operate like traditional dimmers. For more information about the Faedra Series, go to or call 888/ LUTRON1.

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