Understanding Bulk Wifi: Resident and Property Benefits for the Multifamily Industry

William Bailey | July 2, 2024

Understanding Bulk Wifi Resident and Property Benefits for the Multifamily Industry

If Maslow were to recreate his hierarchy of needs today, he’d probably stamp “dependable wifi” right there next to food, water, and shelter. 

Reliable internet hasn’t been a “nice to have” amenity for a long time, and as the resident demand for speed and consistency has risen (right alongside the ongoing rent plateau and higher than average vacancy rates), an emerging expectation has made its way into the hearts and minds of renters all over the country: move-in ready wifi.

Multifamily is an industry that changes slowly. To this day, wifi isn’t treated with the same infrastructural rigor as traditional utilities. Nobody in multifamily would be foolish enough to downplay its importance—but many in our industry fail to account for modern wifi management strategies when supporting their portfolios. Many residents are left to shop, negotiate, and secure their own internet during or after the move-in process, which makes for an awkwardly quiet first few hours or days in the internet desert that is their beautiful new unit.

Bulk wifi, as a concept and offering, has matured over the last several years into a robust and practical next step for the owners and operators. Done right, it’s a modern and holistic approach to securing affordable connections to service providers and offering residents the option for day one internet access. And while emerging regulations may very well shift the landscape for bulk internet strategies in the near future, bulk internet will remain a reliable way to enhance resident retention, attract new residents, lower administrative expenses, and potentially create new forms of ancillary income.

What is Bulk Wifi?

Bulk wifi is a process wherein a vendor brokers and supports an agreement between a multifamily complex and an internet service provider (ISP) to ensure streamlined, supported, and day one accessible internet for residents and properties. Essentially, it transforms the process of getting the internet set up into a utility like power or water—the infrastructure is already there and ready for residents the moment they move in.

Benefits to Property Owners

  1. Customized Services: Bulk agreements enable customized services tailored to a community’s specific needs, such as dedicated bandwidth and service level agreements (SLAs) that specify the provider’s obligations for reliability, performance, and priority customer support.
  2. Support for Smart Technologies: IoT and smart building technologies require always-in internet. As a service, Bulk wifi ensures that tech like smart thermostats, leak detection sensors, and smart security tech remain connected. Of note: Conservice’s Onboard connectivity solutions will provide ongoing support for both internet services and smart technologies.
  3. Enhanced Property Value: Providing high-quality internet services can enhance the property’s appeal, making it more attractive to potential renters and potentially allowing for higher rental rates. Additionally, on the property side, bulk agreements often generate additional profits for the properties they serve.
  4. Operational Efficiency: Bulk internet services can streamline property management operations by reducing the need for resident service contracts and installations. Additionally, bulk internet vendors will provide resident support for internet issues, relieving property staff of this duty.

Benefits to Residents

Immediate Access

When renters move to a new apartment, they want immediate, easy access to the internet. Bulk managed Wi-Fi solutions provide this convenience, which is crucial given that 87% of renters view the availability of internet immediately on move-in as “very important” or “absolutely essential,” according to the 2024 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey of over 172,000 renters living in 4,220 communities nationwide.

Faster, Reliable, and Affordable Internet

For renters, bulk internet service is typically convenient, more reliable, and more affordable than what is available in the broader consumer market. This service meets the resident’s need for broadband connectivity and provides seamless connectivity throughout the apartment community.

Ongoing Customer Support

Bulk Wifi Vendors—Like Conservice’s Onboard service—come with rigorous resident support infrastructure. They’ll field questions and resolve internet-related issues for residents without them having to contact your onsite staff or reach out to the internet service provider directly.

A Partner to Get You Started

The need for dependable, move-in ready internet is becoming as fundamental a utility as the water in the walls. And bulk wifi solutions have evolved rapidly over the last few years. What was once a niche and emerging service is now a practical and established approach to cost-effective, property-wide internet solutions that enhance resident experiences and support portfolio growth. Onboard, powered by Conservice, is a nationally acclaimed leader in bulk wifi services. Their experts have spent years transforming internet connectivity from a commodity into an efficient, revenue-growing strategy. If you’re interested in exploring bulk wifi as a strategy for your properties, connect with Onboard.

William Bailey

William Bailey

William Bailey is a veteran writer in the real estate industry and the Content Manager at Conservice. He’s obsessed with utility technology, tarantulas, and the ways that language and stories can bring industries together.

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