Common WiFi & Internet Challenges for Apartment Owners
Multi Family investors, property owners and developers now have a choice when it comes to Internet providers for their properties and developments. “Full Service Internet Providers” (FISP) & Managed Service Providers (MSP); specializing in Fiber and WiFi integration for Multi-Tenant properties are emerging into the market place. These new companies are offering services such as Fiber to the Home/unit (FTTH), “Property-Wide WiFi” (PWW), “WiFi as a Service” (WAAS), Gigabit Services and Building Wide “WiFi Calling” capabilities.
Even older properties that were not designed with today's Internet needs in mind, can take advantage of these new cutting-edge Internet services. Further, with any planned renovations, Multi Family property owners are in a unique position to use their allocated funds to also provide futuristic telecommunications services to their residents during the remodel; capitalizing on their valuable “Internet Real Estate” and turning an expense into a “Revenue Generating Internet Amenity”.
"Many owners are missing out on a great opportunity to showcase what the future looks like to the
rest of the Multi-Family industry; while adding a new source of revenue, improving resident satisfaction and modernizing the Internet infrastructure ," Says Anthony Jason CEO and Founder at Fiber Stream, a national FISP that specializes in fiber and WiFi integration.
There are three unique opportunities to consider when looking at a building-wide Internet system:
1st: To provide cutting-edge Internet services to the residents; increasing satisfaction, loyalty and retention
2nd: To “Future Proof” the Internet/data wiring infrastructure of the building
3rd: To capitalize on per-door ancillary revenue & increase overall property value instantly from increased profits
This can all be achieved by implementing the right business strategy. Further it is possible to have a “pay-for-it-self”, 100% resident funded Internet system that will generate these profits for years to come.
First let’s discuss the many challenges that owners and management companies face when it comes to choosing the right Internet provider to serve their property. The most glaring is that many owners are not aware they actually have a choice with whom and how internet services are deployed for their property. So out of default, they make deals with the local “Big Box” providers. These deals often undercut the value and quality of the networks because there is no real incentive to provide cutting edge services when you have little to no competition AND there is nobody to challenge the design of the system because the owner has been paid off.
Many developers and owners offer multiple wiring choices in their buildings in an attempt to give their residents “CHOICES” but it really doesn’t improve the residents options very much; several bad choices is really not a choice at all.
Common telecommunication challenges with most Multi-Family buildings, new and old include:
1) The telecommunication infrastructure is designed by the local ISP’s who have little to no incentive in offering cutting edge services, instead are driven by a business model that doesn’t engender ingenuity and innovation. Just look at the proof; they are still installing Coaxial and twisted pair wiring into new builds as their last mile wiring. Even if fiber is brought to the property it does little to help the last mile bottlenecks these antiquated wiring solutions create. An easy way to distinguish this is to look at what connects the modem from the wall; is it a Cat 5e cable/ fiber or is it a Coaxial /phone line?
2) Standard Cable/Coaxial & DSL offerings are much too slow and are not expandable to today's standards
3) Residents, either millennials or business working class, demand security, speeds and ease of use
4) There is a need for upgraded wiring because the building cannot offer current and future data requirements, for example Gigabit Internet
5) Many properties have entered in agreements with local ISP’s; these agreements are mostly unenforceable because of recent FCC laws but never the less keep owners from improving services due to the assumption that they are valid
6) In general most properties are under-served because they are dominated by quasi monopolies with antiquated business models and poor customer service. It is well know that Current “Big Box” providers are amongst the lowest rated companies in the country
How to overcome these challenges:
1) Choose a “Full Service Internet Provider” that can implement the entire solution, one who strives to provide Internet, the residents’ actual demand. Think easy to use, fast and reliable
2) Use the most current and up-to-date wiring technologies –E.g. Fiber, Cat 5e & Cat 6a. Don’t sell out to the “Big Box” Internet providers. Design (or redesign) the infrastructure with quality of services in mind, not what the providers pay you to tolerate
3) Implement cutting-edge, enterprise class WiFi design & equipment; residents want facility wide, seamless access that is safe, fast and reliable. With current technologies this is now available and can be implemented in just a few weeks. If done with the right business strategy it ends up being 100% resident funded
4) Take advantage of 0% occupancy and offer ancillary services as a value added marketing tool from the start. E.g. “Gig-Fiber Internet Included with rent” , ‘”Property-Wide WiFi” included or “Free Gig - Internet with first years lease”. Incidentally it is never too late to add a good marketing campaign to increase occupancy and retention; you just need to install an aftermarket internet system
5) Get the facts on your current marketing and right of access (ROE) agreements, if you want out, odds are you can get out of these agreements and finally be free to provide any service you want
6) Choose a modern business strategy and seize this revenue opportunity before your contemporaries do; here are some good examples of possible strategies:
A) Marketing Strategy: Include as an amenity or offer as a promotion to increase occupancy e.g. 6 months free Gig-Fiber Internet w/signed lease
B) Profit Strategy: Add Internet to the Utility Billing - Capture around $30 profit a month per resident
C) Multiplier Strategy: Couple “Bulk Internet” service with other planned improvements to create a multiplier effect. This happens because of the new perceived value and in turn justifies planned rent raises and/or affirms higher rent value for new leases
Fiber Stream is a provider of high speed Property-Wide WiFi services. Fiber Stream’s target markets include MDU and senior living communities. Fiber Stream’s proprietary revenue generating model allows property owners to leverage their “Internet real estate” to maximize profits, increase resident satisfaction and retention, and increase property value. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Fiber Stream offers Property-Wide WiFi, Gigabit Internet and WiFi calling solutions nationwide. For more information, visit www.FiberStreamWiFi.com or contact 1-888-644-9434.