Whether perceived as a want, need, or fundamental human right, fiber internet for multifamily communities can deliver on residents’ overwhelming demand to live digital-forward lives. Developers and property owners also have a “need” with internet services—to see clear advantages when choosing one provider over another.
This final part of our “Why Fiber” series examines the benefits of fiber internet for multifamily communities, how fiber can meet resident expectations, and gives owners a truly “future-ready,” long-term solution.
“How good is your internet?”
Residents ask lots of questions before they sign a lease—ranging from a building’s age to the proximity of schools to when the flooring was put in. A top question is, “how good is your internet?” No real surprise there. Internet use is exploding, and a major 2021 connectivity study by Deloitte shows a record number of smart and Internet of Things (IoT) devices per household. Residents want and need high-quality internet service. If they can’t get it at your property, you can’t get them at your property.
But when owners work with a fiber internet provider, they can serve up the connected experience residents want. Let’s focus on some benefits that can appeal to residents right away.
Speed: there’s fast and then there’s ultra-fast
Time spent online is off-the-charts. Today, nearly a third of us admit to being on the internet “almost constantly.” Multifamily residents’ craving for internet speed seems to grow daily to keep up with the demands of remote work, online education, e-shopping, and entertainment. A 2020 YouGov survey found that most Americans are “second screening” or multitasking on at least two digital devices at once. Do the math: increasing use + more devices = the need for ultra-fast internet on-property.
Fiber internet for multifamily communities can satisfy the “need for speed.” By using light instead of electrical impulses or radio waves (as with cellular), fiber-optic lines have the capability to transmit data faster than more traditional technologies. Fiber providers commonly offer “gigabit” speeds, or speeds up to 940 Mbps (megabits per second). High-speed connectivity means residents will notice things like fast-loading web pages and low-ping gaming. Their multitude of smart devices can also stay continuously connected and perform at peak levels.
Another key upside is the availability of fiber’s symmetrical speeds, or uploads that move as fast as downloads. Traditional “copper” internet providers (cable or DSL) often prioritize download speeds since most internet activities involve downloading. The trade-off is that their upload speeds end up being, well, not-so-fast. Today’s multifamily residents often videoconference, share Tik Toks, and log in to telehealth appointments—all “upstream” activities. A multifamily community with symmetrical fiber internet has a ready solution designed for fast uploading.
Reliability: who’s got time for downtime?
It’s simple. Residents want internet that works all the time with no blocky, pixelated hiccups when they stream a video. Plus, with jobs and education online (and on the line), an unreliable connection isn’t a risk worth taking. Fiber can provide reliability for property owners and residents on several levels.
On the technical side, the light-through-glass nature of fiber-optics allows for more robust data transmission over longer distances. Fiber is also more durable and not as susceptible to service disruptions brought on by water, weather, corrosion, or electromagnetic interference.
Another aspect of reliability has to do with fiber’s greater bandwidth when compared to earlier internet technologies. “Slow” connections can result from limited bandwidth when a traditional network becomes clogged during peak hours. While not unlimited, the ultimate capacity of fiber isn’t fully known yet. This can make slowdowns and interruptions on fiber networks much less likely.
Attracting residents who stay—as the movie says, “build it, and they will come.”
It’s an understatement to say multifamily residents are tech-savvy and interested in communities with high-quality broadband. Property owners know the best amenity investments are those that generate occupancy and limit churn. Deploying a forward-facing technology like fiber can help their properties stand out in a crowded marketplace and up the ante when it comes to drawing and retaining residents who prize connectivity. When residents are happy, they’re not likely to look for another place and more apt to re-up when their lease is expiring.
Fiber internet is ready for whatever comes next
Closely tied to fiber’s cost-effectiveness is its future-readiness. There’s no crystal ball that multifamily owners can use to predict how resident demand might grow or which future technologies will catch on. What happens when streaming replaces conventional TV? Or when virtual reality and the Metaverse overtake video conferencing? Or, that day in the not too-distant-future, when 10 Gigabit per second internet speeds become the standard? Today’s fiber networks are ready for those changes and then some—without becoming outdated and forcing owners to install new cabling and infrastructure. The technical advantages of fiber let providers make speed and service level upgrades by changing out the equipment or software on either end of their network. The fiber itself stays intact. That means minimal disruptions for properties and their residents. In short, fiber internet is in it for the long haul, giving residents plenty of internet capacity for decades to come.
Unique solutions designed for resident ease and operator profit
Working with a fiber provider often allows developers and property owners to opt for a customized connectivity solution that fits how residents live today. It also builds a foundation to support the future.
Fast is great, but instant is… instant
An immediate-activation product, like Instant Internet from Quantum Fiber, gives residents self-service convenience and owners a comprehensive solution. All units in a building or homes in a development are pre-wired and the equipment is pre-installed. Rather than wait days for a technician, residents can sign up, order, and self-activate their service the moment they move in.
Instant WiFi, another Quantum Fiber service, takes this approach further by eliminating the in-unit modem. After initiating service, with a few taps on a smartphone, residents can access the internet wirelessly over a secure personal area network (PAN). They connect their devices just like they would with typical in-home WiFi. Wireless access points throughout the community keep residents connected. And there’s no need to log in again or reauthenticate as they move from their residence to the gym, lobby, or poolside. Built-in equipment features provide cybersecurity protections to defend their devices from cyber threats.
An all-inclusive bulk solution is another attractive option for owners. By purchasing services for an entire community at attractive rates, owners get the amenity their residents demand. They can either pass the savings on to residents. Or they can create a new revenue stream by bundling broadband fees into rent. Suppose the owner’s bulk rate is $35 per month per unit, but a resident perceives fiber connectivity to be a higher-value amenity. It doesn’t take a calculator to see the profit potential. As it turns out, property owners aren’t the only ones interested in bulk arrangements. A 2021 Parks Associates white paper revealed that nearly one-third of renters are willing to pay for bulk broadband as part of their rent. And three-quarters of renters say they would pay higher rental rates if high-speed internet was folded in.
Like any investment, it’s essential for multifamily developers and property owners to look for a connectivity solution that enhances their business model. The potential impacts of fiber internet on properties can be felt in everything from attracting longer-term residents to lower operating expenses due to fewer repairs and disruptions. Plus, fiber can be a solution that caters to accelerating resident demands and expanding technologies. Choosing fiber can mean meeting those challenges head-on and setting communities up for success today and tomorrow.
Read Part 1 of the Why Fiber series.
Read Part 2 of the Why Fiber series.
Contact a Quantum Fiber Connected Communities expert to learn about connectivity solutions tailored to your multifamily community.
Quantum Fiber® Connected Communities provides customized fiber solutions for apartments and communities.