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Connectivity at multifamily properties has become a cornerstone of modern living, ensuring residents can seamlessly stay connected with work, family, friends, and entertainment. But as housing providers know all too well, the need to be “always on” isn’t always easy to deliver.

Further complicating the landscape are a growing number of proposed regulations that could potentially limit housing providers’ connectivity options. Most recently, the Federal Communications Commission announced a proposed rulemaking that could ban or restrict bulk billing agreements or managed Wi-Fi solutions, key tools for ensuring seamless connectivity in multifamily housing. While seemingly well-intended, the effort is misinformed and could very well upend the proven success multifamily owners have had in removing barriers to access and adoption of broadband by renters across the country.

Recent data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report indicate that connectivity solutions that are both reliable and affordable are cornerstones of a positive renter experience. In fact, survey results highlight that reliable broadband and cellular connectivity not only enhance resident satisfaction but also factor into prospective renters’ lease decision-making process.

Key Takeaways from the Rental Industry’s Largest Consumer Insights Survey

1. Renters Expect Immediate Connectivity: Renters today see high-speed and reliable connectivity as a fundamental utility. According to the survey, 87% of respondents consider it very important or absolutely essential to have connectivity available as soon as they move in. This demand has led to the increased popularity of bulk internet and managed Wi-Fi systems to meet resident needs.

2. Connectivity Influences Leasing Decisions: The experience with a property's Wi-Fi during a tour can significantly impact a prospect’s decision. One in four survey respondents say connecting to a property’s Wi-Fi while touring is very important. Seamless connectivity during tours showcases the property's commitment to modern amenities and enhances its appeal, potentially influencing leasing decisions. Moreover, nearly half of renter respondents, 48%, say a connectivity certification would positively influence their decision to lease a rental home.

3. High-Speed Internet Remains a Top Apartment Feature: Renters consistently rank high-speed internet among their top three desired apartment features. The survey highlights that 90% of respondents are interested in or would not rent without high-speed internet.

4. Renters Rely on Internet Connectivity Daily: Internet connectivity is crucial for daily activities, including remote work, communication with family and friends, and access to entertainment and education. More than half of the respondents, 52%, reported working remotely at least part of the time.

5. Renters Have a Preference for Managed Wi-Fi: Renters prefer managed Wi-Fi systems because they can offer secure, dedicated personal networks with seamless connectivity throughout their homes and common areas. More than half of respondents, 58%, stated it’s very important or absolutely essential to have such a network available.

As renters increasingly demand high-quality and seamless connectivity, rental housing providers must invest in cellular and broadband infrastructure at their communities to deliver the level of connectivity today’s renters expect. The regulatory environment is also shifting to become more complicated, underscoring the importance for rental housing providers to continue to communicate with policymakers on the need for flexibility and partnership to deliver the connectivity that is needed today and into the future. Undermining bulk broadband or managed Wi-Fi models could lead to less competition in the market, higher broadband prices for millions of renters, and even potentially disconnecting millions more.

For more information about the 2024 NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, please visit