Fiber Connectivity – Value-Added Amenity or Resident Must-Have?

Once considered a luxury or modern “convenience”, high-speed internet connectivity has become table stakes for many in the rental market. The notion of internet connectivity as an extra “nice to have” simply no longer exists. Our collective world (and everyone in it) moves quickly – so must connectivity for all activities reliant on super-fast internet upload and download speeds. Think work-from-home video conferencing, distance learning, online gaming and shopping, video streaming, and so much more. Today’s consumers ask a lot of the internet connectivity available to them. Discernity can help your property keep up the pace, while you establish a loyal tenant base.

This reality begs the question: Has high-speed, fiber-connected internet become a line item as the requisite monthly electricity, heating, and water bill for multifamily rental units?  We say yes, it has.

As we are in the midst of a millennial rental boom, it is clear that high-speed internet connectivity is an essential requirement of this age grouping (also known as Generation Y). Get ready, because Generation Z is coming right behind them. (These are individuals born between the late 1990s and early 2010s.) According to Pew Research Center, members of Generation Z are considered “digital natives” and collectively do not recall a world without smartphones. Let that sink in.

Whether we’re talking about millennials or Generation Z, these individuals essentially have grown up with some form of internet access from the very beginning. It’s what they know. Millennials likely have little to no memory of dial-up internet access, which many of you reading this experienced in the early days of the web. For younger generations dominating today’s marketplace, anything less than high-speed is frankly unacceptable in conducting the daily business of living and working. More than ever in this age of COVID-19 restrictions, the lines between work/play/family/leisure arguably are blurred unlike any other time in our history.

That means high-speed internet connectivity is truly at the cusp of being considered an absolute requirement by many in-demand, high-value tenants. Perhaps it already is. At Discernity, we partner with clients every day to create connectivity strategies putting them ahead of their competition regarding high-value amenity packages for prospective renters. Fiber connectivity should be a big part of that strategy.

Property management companies know the value of meeting the needs of a dominant consumer category, even if it does present some initial infrastructure challenges. Assuming this high-demand amenity is well marketed, investing in high-speed, fiber connected technology should ultimately pay dividends in the form of increased rental inquiries and potential profit for property owners. That said, multifamily properties catering to the millennial demographic certainly should be fiber internet connected, or at least capable.

When property owners and property managers see the great potential, there is no need to wait for an internet or fiber company to come calling. If the age of buildings presents a potential difficulty, there are several innovative wireless and hardware options available allowing for updated technology to be delivered over existing wiring. It is possible to get fiber into just about any building relatively affordably.

In increasing numbers, property management companies are seeing the value in bringing fiber to their buildings in order to meet the demands of current and prospective residents. As market demand statistics show, millennials are at the top of this list. Offering these high-speed services can prove especially profitable for owners when services are acquired in bulk, then built into monthly rent agreements. While some properties may choose to provide this service to all residents, others may consider offering a more basic level of service with the option to upgrade later. This may be particularly applicable to properties serving a wide range of age groups.

Multifamily property managers and owners seek out Discernity to partner with them in bringing high-speed internet and TV to their residents. We know there are multiple facets to delivering an exceptional living experience for tenants. Leasing safe, desirable space and maximizing value for residents is what property managers do best. Let Discernity help you make high-speed fiber connectivity a part of what brings those high-value residents to your door.