Take yourself back to when you were buying your first home.
You probably had a list of things that were necessities and others that were “nice-to-have” amenities.
Guest bedroom? Need it.
Marble countertops? Would be nice.
A yard big enough for the dog to run around in? Required.
Commercial tenants are a little trickier. The scales of “necessity” and “nice-to-have” are continually changing. Whereas connectivity may have been a second-tier requirement in the past, it is now in the forefront of tenant needs and a necessity for any company yearning to reach its full potential.
Sophisticated tenants need to be asking the right questions to ensure their next office space includes the technical capabilities needed to keep their employees online and productive.
This list of questions is plentiful, but here are three that tenants and tenant brokers should specifically be asking on building tours:
1) How many carrier options are available to me?
One of the greatest allies to consumers— or in this case, tenants—is a free and open market. The power to choose a seller among a selection of competitors empowers the buyer.
It is no different when it comes to tenants and internet service providers (ISPs). Building owners should have three or more internet service providers available to their tenants, creating competition that will lower the price for tenants.
Landlords hold the keys to their building’s access and should be open to multiple ISPs like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon, running internet cabling to give tenants the choice of which company is best for their business needs.
Our service WiredScore Connect can help tenants understand the best ISP options within a building for their own specific needs. WiredScore Connect will match a tenant to an ISP to make sure the former is getting most bandwidth for the best price.
2) What sort of backup measures are in place if the internet goes down?
It’s possible we don’t realize how much we need fast, reliable internet access until it's gone.
Throughout the day, as your office hums along, it’s unlikely anybody is praising how great their internet service is. It’s something we expect and perhaps take for granted.
But picture your office when its internet service goes down.
The mental cost is employees losing focus as their attention gets diverted to Instagram on their cell phones, lots of chairs being pushed away from their desks and an entire organization losing momentum on that day’s tasks.
As you might imagine, the corresponding fiscal cost of an internet outage is devastating. One hour of internet outage costs over $300,000 for 81 percent of businesses. Even worse, for 33 percent of businesses, that same hour of internet downtime has an increased cost of $1-5 million.
Like many misfortunes in life, we cannot always prevent internet outages, but it is within our power to prepare for them. Redundancy is created by taking additional measures to decrease the risk of internet outages. The two main ways landlords can provide redundant connectivity options for tenants through a building’s infrastructure is through multiple Points of Entry (POEs) or multiple riser pathways.
A POE is where internet service providers’ cabling comes into the building from the street. Having at least two POEs, separated by at least 20 feet or on separate sides of the building, helps ensure that if one POE encounters a problem the other will be unaffected.
Similarly, having two or more riser locations improves building redundancy. A riser generally describes any cabling pathway that runs vertically from the bottom of a building to the top. Buildings with at least two risers help tenants because if an issue occurs in one riser, an alternate riser can be utilized by tenants to eliminate connectivity outages.
It’s a tenant or their broker’s duty to ask how many POEs and risers are in a building, and a landlord’s responsibility to have multiple of each.
3) If I sign a lease, how quickly can I get set up with internet access?
It is essential to have Internet service in the office from Day One.
No supervisor wants their company sharing the same WiFi hotspot like cavemen huddled around a shared fire. If a building owner is not prepared with a boilerplate Right of Entry/Access agreement, or the building's conduit does not have space for additional cabling, it can take 4-5 months, if not more, to get internet set up.
Think about that. That's at least an entire quarter that your company has to find an alternative connectivity solution to ensure business does not skip a beat. And yet, all that wasted time could have been avoided by asking the right questions and preparing for a successful move-in, from a telecommunications perspective.
It is the building owners' duty to have documentation in place— specifically, a standard boilerplate agreement— that will allow an ISP to move into the building quickly and efficiently. This will greatly reduce the time it takes for the carrier and landlord to reach an agreement, and in turn, cut down on the time it takes for tenants to be up and running with viable internet service.