Friday, July 22, 2005

High-Speed Internet is a Must Have

Following a trend that we have certainly been seeing for a while now, Multi-Housing News reported last month that more and more Class B and C properties throughout the country are offering high-speed Internet access and business centers as amenities for their residents. (Read the full article here.)

High-speed Internet is definitely becoming a must-have amenity, almost another utility in some cases. People are consuming more media than ever, and broadband Internet service simply rounds out the basic communications package of TV and phone - you'll see this often referred to as the "triple play." Wireless Internet access in common areas is another common amenity, and more properties will begin offering wireless access in units, either as a service to complement the existing wired network or as a stand-alone alternative to wiring altogether. (Either way, wireless has its pros and cons, but that's a topic for a different day. At some point we'll have to cover broadband over powerlines too.)

Designing a building with high speed data services in mind is more important than ever, especially considering what the major telecom and satellite companies are planning for the near future. Eventually all of your services will be delivered over data networks; just look at newer technologies like VoIP and IPTV. Even security systems can being monitored over data networks instead of the traditional phone line.

The fight for your business is quickly turning into a race to offer the most services at the highest speeds. Verizon and SBC want to run optical fiber into your building so they can get into the TV business and increase the speed of their Internet service. DirecTV isn't known for their Internet service, but they're trying to keep up by pledging to offer over 1,500 channels in High Definition over 5 or more different satellites.

With all the players vying for your business, this technology stuff can get messy in a hurry. And who knows what new technologies and methods of delivery the future holds? Could the next resident amenity be satellite radio or online gaming? If your building is designed to grow with these things in mind, you'll be far ahead of the game when the next hot trend hits the market.

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