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The Fiber Factor:  How Property Developers Can Build a Foundation of Success for Multi-Family Dwellings and Mixed-Use Properties

For many, healthy competition stokes personal and professional fires.  The desire to be the best, to promote the brightest and to offer the smartest solution is a constant pursuit for those who endeavor to be at the top of their field.  One industry that is truly driven by competition is real estate.  When providing best-in-class housing via multi-dwelling units (MDUs), such as apartment complexes, or attracting marquee retailers to a multi-business unit (MBUs), such as a shopping mall or retail outlet, it is imperative to offer exceptional amenities that will make a prospective tenant or lessee’s decision to go with your property an easy one.

At the top of the list of considerations, for residents or business owners, is Internet speed.  In some cases, the availability and speed of the Internet service has surpassed location as the most important factor in the decision-making process of whether or not to choose a certain residence or retail option*. Given the emphasis of Internet speed and reliability, what must developers do to ensure they are putting their best and strongest foot forward in attracting customers?  The answer is simple – understand and embrace the fact that fiber is king.

Fiber-based Internet, as opposed to coaxial cable, provides proven reliability, speed, security and, in short, an optimal broadband experience.  And, as fiber is more than competitively priced with coaxial cable, the decision to implement a fiber-based solution is an absolute no-brainer.  There are several considerations, however, that every developer should keep top-of-mind when evaluating their fiber solution options.

The Performance of Your Partner: There are many fiber solution providers each promising to deliver an exceptional customer experience.  But, understanding how those partners truly define and deliver on their customer service is critically important.  As a developer, you must demand the following from your solution partner.

  • One Who Understands the Big Picture: You need a partner who is going to look at the developer/solution provider relationship holistically.  It is not about one specific deal or implementation.  The right partner is going to evaluate the comprehensive needs of the developer and work to find smart solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs.
  • One Who is Flexible: It is not a one-size fits all scenario when it comes to implementing a fiber-based solution.  The right partner will be able to apply a flexible approach and evaluate each install opportunity to ensure they are delivering the most cost-effective solution possible.  This customized approach is more typically offered by a regional partner who understand local market dynamics, is not mired down by the red tape of a larger corporation and can provide agile and tailored solutions.
  • One Who is Solution-Oriented: It is essential to have a partner who has the same problem-solving mindset of the developer. Instead of seeing what may be less than ideal about a certain location or implementation, you want a partner who is willing to take a seat at the table and actively seek to find solutions rather than simply identify challenges.  This approach establishes trust and leads to the establishment of a long-term relationship where a developer can rely on their fiber solution provider not simply as a vendor but an invested partner in the process.
  • One Who Remains Invested: While the initial sale and installation is critical, the right partner will remain committed and engaged after the beginning phase has passed.  There are often ongoing issues that require navigation and it is imperative to have a partner who is dedicated to quick resolution and to delivering exceptional after-the-sale customer support for both the lessor and their tenants.  Having the mindset that quality service and support does not end once the contract is signed engenders trust and fosters a true spirit of partnership.

The Importance of the Data:  Research shows that apartment complexes and retail spaces have a 10% higher rental rate if the property is fiber equipped.  Therefore, the implementation of fiber directly correlates with stronger revenues, increased customer or resident retention and a long-term and reliable broadband solution.  In fact, access to fiber-delivered Internet raises rental values by up to 8%, and purchase prices of condos by 2.8%.*  The end game, for any residential or retail property, is to ensure that you have engaged and satisfied long-term tenants or lessees.  Providing fiber as the foundation for your Internet service guarantees happy customers and secures the ongoing revenue stream for property owners and managers.

The Need to Get in On the Ground Floor:  The smartest and best way to implement a fiber solution is to install the offering on day one.  While retrofitting for a fiber solution is possible and can be accomplished, it is most cost-effective to implement a fiber-based solution when your project – retail or residential – is in the development stage.  Developers have a myriad of decisions to make during the construction process.  But, one decision that can be easily resolved is the instillation of a fiber solution.  Making that decision at an early stage gives developers the confidence that they are providing their customers and end-users with the smartest and fastest Internet offering available and that the foundation is laid for delivering a positive and reliable long-term solution.

For developers, the competitive landscape is more crowded than ever.  What is reassuring is there are smart and effective choices that can provide measurable results and give property developers a proven leg-up.  The install of fiber for any residential or retail project is one such decision.  With the right fiber-based solution and the right partner, developers are truly laying a foundation for ongoing success.

*FTTH Council, “Fiber Optic Broadband Boosts Value of Mulifamily Homes”, 6/13/16