The RJ Free Home

by Colin Berkshire

Colin here. This past week I went home shopping. A young couple who are friends with my wife are about to purchase their first home. This is an important decision for them, and so they asked that I look at a few homes that they are interested in. All of the homes are newly built from major contractors.

I was surprised that none of the newly built homes had telephone jacks nor did they have any Cat-5 Ethernet jacks. The homes had cable, and they had the local landline carrier to the side of the home. But inside the home there wasn’t a single RJ-11 or RJ-45 to be found. This struck me as odd.

I asked the developer why there were no phone jacks. Was this some sort of add-on trick or an error, or what? Surely, a $400K home needed a phone jack in every bedroom, right?

The developer cooly told me that they are no longer installing either phone or Ethernet in any of the homes that they build. They did a study and found that nobody was using any of the wiring they had been installed. All of the homes that had “structured wiring” from a few years back simply didn’t use it. They found that omitting the wiring didn’t cost them any home sales, no buyers were disappointed or asked for it to be added, and even if it was offered as an option the buyers didn’t choose the option.

I was dumbfounded. No phone wiring? No Ethernet? Were they nuts?

We looked at new and under-construction homes from half a dozen builders. Most of the builders were large production builders who were savvy. And the results were the same: New homes don’t come with RJ-11 or RJ-45 jacks.

New home buyers don’t install land lines anymore. Wireless Ethernet is the norm in a home. There is just no need for copper to the last mile.

Interestingly, there was Cat-6 to the master bedroom, living room, den, etc. Cable seems to be alive and well.

Who would have guessed 10 years ago that homes would no longer need wire? Back then it was the rage to install multiple Cat-5 and even fiber to each room and then to a central, structured wiring center.

Times do change.