High-speed Internet access, cell-phone reception
among the amenities that today’s renters are prioritizing
Apartment hunters place a high priority on something they can’t really see when they step into a unit — fast Internet connectivity and cell phone reception.
Renters of all ages want to be able to live easily online wherever they choose to physically live, explains Caitlin Sugrue Walter, director of research for the National Multifamily Housing Council.
The NMHC/Kingsley Associates 2015 Apartment Resident Preferences Survey showed 94 percent of respondents voted their top housing priority to be high-speed Internet, beating out runner-ups like walk-in closets and a patio or balcony.
“When we reference high-speed Internet, we’re generally talking about broadband Internet,” explains Rick Haughey, vice president for Industry Technology Initiatives at NMHC.
In early 2015, the Federal Communications Commission updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second for download and 3 Mbps for uploads, to reflect today’s advanced voice, data, graphics and video offerings. Some apartments today offer data speeds of up to 125 Mbps, notes Haughey, though, he adds, there are a number of issues, such as wiring limitations, can prevent getting that full capacity.
While many apartment complexes provide wireless access in common areas, “few provide property-wide Wi-Fi for the common areas and the units themselves,” says Haughey.
The NMHC survey also found that 53 percent of respondents checked their cell phone reception when touring properties; cell phone reception is dependent on a separate cellular communications network, notes Haughey.
However, “with the recent introduction of Wi-Fi calling, which shifts the call from the cellular network to either the resident or community Wi-Fi, the two networks are working more in tandem today than every before,” Haughey adds.
— Marilyn Kennedy Melia
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