Lack of high-speed internet has become a deal breaker for many apartment renters. Property owners are trying to meet that demand for better connectivity, while at the same time looking for ways to leverage Wi-Fi to create added revenue streams for their properties.
A DISH Business survey found that 81% of property owners & managers indicated that technology services were important in keeping residents satisfied but realized there was room for improvement with 67% agreeing that they could do more to provide the highest level of technology to their residents.
These days, providing high-speed internet is less of an amenity or added perk that can give a property a competitive edge and more a standard part of the utility package, much like water and electricity. The annual NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Renter Preferences Report consistently shows that a majority of renters view high-speed internet as a non-negotiable “must have” when ranking in-unit features.
For most people moving in an apartment community, the number one amenity they want is fast, reliable, secure internet service,” says Josh Rowe, director of product and business development for DISH Business.
A solution for property owners and managers is to bundle a Wi-Fi package for their tenants. DISH Fiber’s Instant-On managed Wi-Fi service is a solution for multifamily communities offering gig-enabled speeds and live-streaming TV service with 24 channels, available property-wide. The service is managed from one centralized satellite dish and delivered over the property’s IP network. Tenants won’t need individual satellite dishes.
“If you move in Saturday afternoon and you want to watch Netflix that evening, you’re instantly on the internet and you’re instantly getting access,” he says.
Better service experience
Bringing in a managed service provider also gives property owners an opportunity to add value by delivering a better service experience. Multifamily properties are increasing their focus on creating engaging common area and community spaces for people spending more time outside of their personal units that requires a robust broadband solution.
Renters are relying more on at-home connectivity for entertainment and critical remote working functionality. These days 3.7 million Americans work from home and the need for tenants to stay connected at all times is crucial.
“When a resident walks into an apartment, one of the first things they do is pull out their phone and see how many bars they have,” says Nate Block, general manager of business development at DISH Business.
Renters can access their personal network both inside their unit and when they are out and about in the apartment complex, whether they’re working out at the gym or sitting poolside.
“The idea of having a powerful common area network is not just because it’s nice to be able to print from the pool but because there are lifestyles that are lived more outside the unit,” says Rowe.
This also eliminates the issue of interference from multiple service providers trying to support individual residents rather than having a service level agreement for the entire property. That single source broadband infrastructure also creates a solid backbone to continue to support the growing demand for “smart living” features both within units and in common areas that will be critical for positioning apartments as a competitive property for today with the technologies of tomorrow.
The importance of a long-term telecommunications strategy has never been greater. While many owners are evaluating new service offerings to better meet the needs of their residents, savvy owners are also recognizing this as an opportunity to drive incremental revenue. Their ability to provide lightening fast secure, Wi-Fi access, both within units and throughout community areas of a property that residents can access as soon as they move in, is a way to up their game. By doing so, owners are providing better service to residents and monetizing the offering by taking control of this essential resident service.
Leveraging connectivity to generate added value means giving up traditional revenue share models in exchange for new methods. Today, at many properties across the country, owners provide access for two or three different internet service providers or telcos to come onto a property and compete for renter business. That approach produces mixed results with an inconsistent service experience for renters, and in some cases, even creates interference between neighbors with rival systems.
Often owners can make significantly more revenue by buying broadband at a property level and charging a technology or amenity fee to renters compared to what they’d collect on a revenue share from cable companies and/or telcos servicing their property on an individual resident basis.