Friday, September 20, 2013

The Need for Speed

Place yourself in the shoes of a typical college student:  You've invested in a brand new computer because you know you’ll need it for taking notes, writing papers and doing research throughout the upcoming semester. Increasingly, your professors are also sending you online for more and more required coursework – often including exams!

You’re ecstatic because there’s nothing better than doing coursework in the comfort of your own apartment. But, then you suddenly remember how spotty your internet is at your apartment complex. The joy quickly fades as you realize that, undoubtedly, you’ll have to walk back to campus to get a signal strong and steady enough to take the test or complete the assignment. Few things are more frustrating than your internet fading and kicking you out of a secure session.

So, as a property developer, what options do you have to provide the quality of service expected by these student tenants?  When everyone in your apartment complex is frustrated by the speed or quality of the internet connection, there is only one thing to do: provide a faster, better connection.  Student tenants should be able to depend on this; In fact, internet speed has become the most important technological amenity for students as well as third most important amenity for any demographic according to Multifamily Executive Magazine.  Students are doubling internet usage every two years.

J Turner Research polled students and found that 86% use the internet for more than three hours per day. They also found that students connect to the internet with more than three devices, which means it may often seem that more people are living at your apartment complex than actually do!  Just like cell phone service is expected, internet speed is becoming the same way. It is leading students to “shop around” for internet connections when looking for an apartment, because it’s now a required amenity -- much like a dishwasher or cable TV.

Understanding the necessity of this service is the first step, but a close second step is understanding the variety of cost-effective options available to you as a leading property developer.  Options such as FTTATM -- “Fiber to the Apartment” -- can greatly increase occupancy and retention by providing a level of service that meets the residents’ expectations.

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