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Only 1% of renters can roam their apartment communities with uninterrupted Wi-Fi service and 3% have access to modern-managed Wi-Fi, according to new third-party research released by SmartRent. However, 79% of renters are interested in seamless connectivity.

The new report, “Community WiFi: A Tactical Guide for the Multifamily Market,” was conducted by Parks Associates, to understand today’s competitive environment and assist owners and operators in meeting their residents’ needs. The report includes insights from 2,000 apartment residents and 12 technology leaders in the multifamily industry.

“As an industry, rental housing is falling short of renters’ Wi-Fi needs and expectations, and those demands will only continue to grow,” said SmartRent CEO Lucas Haldeman. “Renters not only need reliable service, but the flexibility to move about their communities without losing connectivity. A lot of people now have flexible jobs, but their apartment communities aren’t supporting that flexibility and catering to that lifestyle. Renters need full-time connectivity that follows them wherever they go, and it is up to operators to meet that demand.”

Internet service is important for renters. The majority of respondents, 86%, have Wi-Fi or wired internet inside their units. Among market-rate renters, 64% of the respondents said they are willing to pay at least $49.99 a month for community Wi-Fi, while 48% said they are willing to pay $79.999 a month for Wi-Fi service with a gigabit or faster speeds.

According to Parks Associates, modern-managed Wi-Fi provides a 26-point boost to an apartment community’s net promoter score (NPS) compared with properties with traditional retail internet. These communities also see a 33-point improvement over communities with legacy Wi-Fi, or a single access point for multiple units. Over half of respondents with modern-managed Wi-Fi said it was a deciding factor in their decision to move into their current community.

The research also shows how communitywide Wi-Fi helps lay the foundation for a smarter future for owners and operators who are striving to optimize operations through automation, self-guided tours, centralized leasing, and asset protection.

“The Community WiFi report provides operators with actionable data and insights to recognize renters’ Wi-Fi requirements and how to meet those evolving demands,” said Elizabeth Parks, president and chief marketing officer for Parks Associates. “Operators can attract more residents, improve both staff and resident retention, and streamline operations with seamless Wi-Fi service that encompasses an entire property.”