This is the first of a two-part series about the key factors developers and property owners should consider when selecting an internet provider for their multifamily communities.
Five years ago, would a multifamily property owner or developer have dreamed they’d be on the leading edge of an internet revolution? Not likely. And yet, here we are.
Overnight, the coronavirus pandemic seemingly changed everything related to the internet and choosing a multifamily internet provider. Broadband access pivoted from convenience to lifeline—connecting people in multifamily communities with their jobs, education, e-shopping, entertainment, and families. While skyrocketing use didn’t break multifamily internet providers or their services, it placed more strain than ever on apartment communities’ existing wiring and WiFi capacity. And the wave of demand shows no signs of dying down soon. According to a Pew Research Poll, nine in ten people say the internet has become essential during the pandemic.
With internet access more important than ever, finding the right provider isn’t just critical, it’s more complex than it used to be. Property owners once had a simple choice: pick the local cable company, the local telecommunications provider, or to bring them both onto their property. Today’s rapidly changing landscape requires owners to be more thoughtful when selecting a technology partner. Often, that means asking more questions multifamily internet providers must answer and deliver on.
During a recent interview, Sarah Jordan, director of sales with Quantum Fiber, provided her insights. We’ll explore what she had to say and address how owners can know they’re getting the internet solutions their residents and communities need.
First, how important is the internet to residents?
The short answer: very.
“I believe it’s important for owners to understand that one of the top amenities residents look for in a community or property is the internet capability,” said Quantum Fiber’s Jordan. “It is imperative that internet service providers deliver a seamless, ubiquitous, customer experience.”
No longer just “nice-to-have,” most residents see high-speed, high-quality internet as a necessity. At one point during the pandemic, roughly 42 percent of adults were working from home full time. It’s estimated that more than half of them still are, as many employers implement virtual or hybrid work models.
Beyond livelihoods, residents’ learning and leisure time now depend heavily on their broadband connection. Unsurprisingly, residents are choosing communities where fast, dependable internet service is a given. Robust connectivity in a multifamily community isn’t just a preference. It’s a prerequisite. Residents expect “always-on,” top-notch internet service to be available where they live. And they want it to work whenever and wherever they need it. What’s more, if a competing property has superior connectivity, residents notice.
Let’s consider some key factors to look for when choosing an internet service provider for your multifamily property.
Whether it’s video calls for work, couch-shopping for clothes, or crushing an army of aliens, today’s residents want and need to be online for virtually everything. Pandemic trends such as working from home and increased TV streaming continue. While residents’ internet demands seem to shift daily, their hunger for more bandwidth won’t likely diminish in the foreseeable future. For an internet service to keep pace with those demands, speed is a primary consideration.
Fiber-optic internet from Quantum Fiber can deliver on both speed and reliability. Of all the options available today, fiber stands out in its ability to provide very fast internet speeds. The nature of fiber technology is what makes this possible.
Another significant speed advantage that fiber offers, is upload speeds. Many internet services promise fast download speeds, but fiber technology can deliver fast symmetrical speeds.
Activities like streaming TV, scrolling social media, and sending emails all benefit from fast download speeds. But with more large file sharing, content creating, video chats, and telemedicine appointments today, users need equally fast uploads speeds. Finding a fiber provider, like Quantum Fiber, that delivers symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps and a 99.9 percent reliable* network is vital for any multifamily community.
*Based on network uptime or availability.
Reliability is quickly becoming one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a multifamily internet provider. Whether it’s residential service or internet for business, unreliable internet can be limiting, frustrating, and at times, even costly. Multifamily property owners know they can’t risk service interruptions—for either their business operations or their residents’ connectivity.
Another crucial part of reliability has to do with the fiber-optic lines themselves. Fiber is a more resilient technology and more immune to the interference, distortion, or disruption that might plague cable, satellite, cellular, and 5G providers.
How can property owners keep their residents safe in multifamily communities? It’s a joint effort, for sure. But one that begins with a global network owner and multifamily internet provider who can offer multiple layers of preventative measures. In other words, a provider who can see more threats and stop them more often.
“I’ve worked with property owners who have come to realize their security features are lacking and that not all internet providers or fiber installers provide robust networking support,” said Quantum Fiber’s Sarah Jordan. “These assumptions can be eye-opening.”
Forward-thinking developers and multifamily owners are genuinely concerned about cybersecurity—on multiple levels. As more communities incorporate cloud-connected security features in their buildings, there’s a greater need to keep them protected from outside cyber threats.
Another troubling vulnerability may be a property’s online-connected security systems. This includes touchless or keypad entry access by individuals, surveillance cameras showing residents coming and going, and other sensitive data on residents. With internet use at record levels and cyberattacks on the rise, residents are justifiably worried about their privacy and personal data. A recent survey found that nearly three-fourths of Americans are either “very” or “extremely” concerned about a potential breach that could put them at risk.
With many online-connected smart systems built into their properties, owners can be understandably anxious. It’s vital then to find a multifamily internet provider that offers networking support and cybersecurity measures. Quantum Fiber’s built-in internet security features, for example, can meet these challenges. Since Quantum Fiber is a Lumen Technologies brand, multifamily customers benefit from the robust, Lumen-owned fiber network infrastructure and global cyber monitoring that some other providers may not be able to match.
Beyond external cyberattacks, owners might also be at risk if a resident does something illegal on their network. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if a resident commits a cybercrime like hacking, data theft, or illegally recording videos of other tenants, the multifamily owner can be held liable. The result could be costly legal action and damage to a community’s reputation.
Quantum Fiber’s advanced equipment and firmware work to keep unauthorized traffic locked out. “The best way to understand all this is that we protect properties, staff, and residents at multiple levels,” says Jordan. “That’s the most astounding point I like to share.”
Coming up in Part 2 of this series: Because speed, reliability, and cybersecurity are usually top-of-mind for residents, it might be easy to overlook other vital factors. We’ll explore the importance of WiFi solutions, data limits, cost-effectiveness, and more when choosing the right internet provider for your community.
Quantum Fiber(SM) Connected Communities provides customized fiber solutions for apartments and communities.