Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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32 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 MDU STRATEGIES Is It Time to Renovate? Property owners and managers need to know when to upgrade their broadband infrastructure. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities D id you pass? How did you decide what to answer? Broad B and Communities spoke with several experts who help property owners and managers make these decisions. ey offered guidelines for evaluating residents' needs and determining how to meet those needs cost- effectively. e first question to ask is whether current residents are happy with the broadband services available to them. is question can be answered by reviewing penetration rates, surveying residents, talking with on-site managers and reviewing trouble tickets. A company buying an MDU building may not have direct access to this information, but it should always perform due diligence on the inside wiring, no matter the age of the building, says Nicole Kane, president of Property Connect Advisors – and the due diligence should inclulde a site inspection. Kane adds that owners may want to inspect inside wiring on buildings they already own if, for example, the building is more than 20 years old or if on-site managers report problems. e second question – a less obvious one – is whether prospective new residents are satisfied with what's on offer. "Residents may not know what they don't know," explains Mike Coco, president of Choice Property Resources – but new residents moving from different buildings might be aware that better alternatives exist. "Are you competing against other properties that have something different?" Coco asks. He suggests using a professional adviser to help compare the broadband offerings in nearby, similar buildings. Kane recommends using analytical tools, such as those offered by Axiometrics, to find comparable buildings and then research their broadband offerings. Certain rules of thumb apply, at least for the moment. For example, Kane says, "When it comes to student housing, if you do not have the ability to offer 100 Mbps per user, residents will complain." UPGRADING WITHOUT FULL RENOVATIONS If current or prospective residents demand better broadband, the next step is to find out whether services can be upgraded without major changes to the building infrastructure. is may be possible if the building wiring is sound and if an existing or competitive provider can provide sufficient backhaul. Michael Slovin, vice president of XFINITY Communities, Comcast's MDU division, says that because Comcast is investing in its backbone network and transitioning to DOCSIS 3.1, it can now offer gigabit speeds to many MDUs wired with coaxial cable. "All they have to do is swap out the modems," he says. "ey don't have to work out the ROI or put in new infrastructure." Comcast plans to complete the rollout of gigabit speeds across its entire footprint in 2018. Here's a quick quiz: e broadband infrastructure in your multifamily property is: a) Just fine b) In need of some tweaking c) Ready to be replaced.

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