Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cable sees the importance of the Internet. Do apartment owners?

You know you’ve reached a tipping point when even the cable company starts looking past set top boxes. 

For the first time, cable giant Comcast reported it had more high speed Internet customers than cable TV subscribers, according to an Engadget report. The same article noted that Comcast launched its “Stream” online video service just in time to capitalize on the trend. 

That’s notable, of course, as more and more Americans become “cord cutters,” and choose to watch streaming video over an Internet connection rather than subscribe to cable.

But for apartment owners, it also highlights an elephant sitting in the middle of multifamily’s living room. Namely, while residents have been saying for years that a reliable, high-speed Internet connection is the most crucial amenity for any apartment, the industry as a whole still doesn't seem to have heard that message.

That’s the gist of Broadband Communities’ latest MDU Survey, which found that less than 39% of apartment owners were familiar with the term “fiber to the home.” Of course, that's the phrase pros use to designate high quality, high-speed Internet delivered to residential addresses, such as apartments, over fiber-optic lines. 

The magazine concluded, “In general… perceptions of MDU owners and managers toward broadband-related issues, and particularly ultra-broadband issues, continue to lag the perceptions and needs of their own residents.”

For years, multifamily owners have loved to complain about cable providers being inflexible and hard to work with, as well as deaf to their residents’ concerns about customer service, which often ended up at the apartment manager’s door.

But with the combination of these two pieces of news, it’s time for multifamily to start listening to what cable is saying, loud and clear: high quality, high-speed Internet actually is kind of important, after all.

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