Housing giant 'forces buyers to use its own broadband'

Housing giant ‘forces buyers to use its own broadband’: Persimmon boosts profits with its in-house internet service

  • Families moving on to new estates found only one Internet network they can use
  • It is called FibreNest and is owned by the developer, Persimmon
  • Internet provider’s customers have doubled from 6,000 to 14,000 in past year
  • Critics say the move is a ploy to reap ‘ongoing revenue’ from buyers 
  • MPs said they created monopoly by forcing residents to use their broadband 

Housing firm Persimmon is boosting soaring profits by giving buyers no option but to sign up to its broadband service.

Families moving on to new estates built by the developer found the only internet network they can choose is FibreNest – which is owned by Persimmon.

In the past year, the internet provider’s customer numbers have more than doubled from 6,000 to 14,000.

Critics say the move is a ploy to reap ‘ongoing revenue’ from buyers – and MPs said Persimmon had created its own monopoly by forcing residents to use their broadband.

Families moving on to new estates built by the developer found the only internet network they can choose is FibreNest, which is owned by Persimmon, as Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central, said: ‘This is predatory behaviour’

Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central, said: ‘This is predatory behaviour.’

Persimmon, which made a pre-tax profit of £784million in 2020, says it provides the network to ensure homeowners do not have to wait for another company to connect.

The firm said it would support other providers who wish to use its cables. Ones such as BT-owned Openreach could legally install their own fibre on Persimmon estates. But a spokesman said it was ‘unable to make the business case work’.

Sir John Hayes, Tory MP for South Holland and The Deepings, said: ‘These huge building firms should not be taking advantage of homeowners for the sake of their own financial interests. No residents should be tied to the builder’s own provider and forced to dance to their tune.’

FibreNest charges £14 a month for download speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and up to £45 for 500Mbps.

Persimmon said it launched FibreNest to ensure households would not face long waits for other firms to install cables once they had moved in, or endure sluggish speeds.

It also promised that customers will never have to pay more for the same speed than they would with the UK’s largest broadband provider, BT.

But Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband.com, said: ‘This is a developer who is seeing a broadband service as a way of providing an ongoing revenue once homes on an estate have been sold. Persimmon is following the law, but it is not playing fair.’

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