For years, multifamily operators have been striving to give residents “choice” by inviting multiple internet service providers into their communities. Bringing in multiple service providers can create a rat’s nest of both problems and wiring in the equipment room. Residents have had to wait days for a technician to connect their service, and operators have had to contract and manage multiple service providers. Frustrations have mounted on both sides over decreased levels of control over the overall service experience.
But now the buildings—and the way residents live in them—have changed.
Today’s apartment buildings are chock-full of smart home technology that lets residents control everything from lights to door locks to thermostats. And in common areas, Wi-Fi is always on in the lobby, by the pool, or at the gym.
That’s why providing a single bulk internet solution may actually be the better “choice” for residents today.
The reasons are all about what residents really want now, as well as the increasing number of devices that need connectivity, both for residents and the apartment pros who operate the properties.
Since internet is fast becoming a utility, much like electricity and water, where it comes from for many residents doesn’t necessarily matter. It just has to be there, especially as working remotely becomes the norm. With TV cord-cutting also running rampant, and cellphones replacing landlines, fast, reliable, and secure internet service is really the only option residents are looking for.
“Choice is more relevant with TV and phone service,” says Josh Rowe, director of product and business development at Englewood, Colo.-based DISH Business, a television, internet, and streaming provider for apartment buildings. “With internet, they just want it to work. They don’t want to shop multiple providers and wait days for a technician to show up to install it. It should just already be on.” For that reason, more operators are providing internet as part of a building’s amenities, or including it in the rent.
But the way residents live inside buildings today has evolved, too. As units have trended smaller, there’s an increased emphasis on creating a sense of community and spending time in common-area spaces outside individual apartments. That means if there are multiple choices of internet providers within a building, each network has to hand off service in different areas, creating isolated islands within a building that don’t always sync with each other, at times requiring residents to use their cellular data.
“But if you have a common, managed Wi-Fi service everywhere, you can still access the devices in your unit, adjust the temperature, or print something out on the same, secure network,” Rowe says.
Finally, with the proliferation of internet-connected devices, having a single network greatly simplifies providing managed smart home tech to residents, while making it easier for property managers to connect to and control the building as well.
“If every resident has their own internet service and the property wants to install managed smart devices, they have to deploy a second network for all of those devices to connect to,” Rowe says. “But if there’s a single, managed Wi-Fi network, the operator can run those devices on the same network they’re using to provide residents with a superior experience, while streamlining things for their staff, too.”
Those are some of the compelling reasons why providing bulk internet at apartments now is really the right choice for residents today.
To learn more about ensuring resident satisfaction with a managed WiFi network, visit dish.com/fiber.