Access to advanced communications services, such as broadband Internet, Metro Ethernet, voice and video, is a ‘top priority’ for commercial real estate tenants, moving ahead of on-site gyms, cafeterias and other amenities, according to a Comcast survey of building owner and property managers.

Ninety percent of the members of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) who responded to the poll ranked access to advanced communications services at the top of their lists, below only price, parking and location, according to Comcast’s “2011 State of Communications Services in Commercial Real Estate Survey.”

In addition, more than 1/3 of respondents said that access to advanced communications services is brought up in 3/4 of negotiations with prospective clients. Many of the respondents said that, as a result, they were “expanding their network infrastructure options and using these competitive technologies to give them a competitive edge” and as a marketing tool to attract and retain tenants.

Also among the report’s findings:

  • 61% of respondents report that having advanced communications in their buildings provides them with a competitive advantage
  • One out of every two respondents say that providing multiple service provider options positively impacts occupancy rates by up to 19%

“Access to advanced communications for tenants is a key factor when selecting a space for their business,” said Linda Warda, property manager at Farbman Group, which manages more than 20 million square feet of office, retail, multi-family and industrial space in southeast Michigan. “When we equipped our buildings with advanced communications, it generated a lot of excitement among our tenants. Our tenants needed a highly-reliable, all-in-one solution that would allow them to quickly and easily receive Internet, phone and cable television services – without reaching out to different providers.”

A greater focus on outfitting commercial buildings with advanced communications is part of a broader effort among many commercial property owners to make buildings “smarter,” which includes installing energy management and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to reduce energy use and emissions while enhancing the interior environment of the buildings.

“At our recent annual conference, building owners and managers were talking about strategies for making their buildings ‘smart’ – both from a sustainability and technological standpoint,” said Patricia M. Areno, CAE, senior vice president of BOMA international. “Access to advanced communications seems to be a new competitive advantage when marketing buildings to tenants and these survey results illustrate that communications is an ever-increasing priority for commercial property owners.”

Comcast is looking to expand its presence in the commercial real estate market. They claim their fiber based Metro Ethernet services are available in 20 of the top 25 US markets.


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