Yes, Fiber to the Unit Is Possible in Vintage Apartment Buildings 

By Kelsi Maree Borland

A version of this story was originally published on GlobeSt.com.

Many owners think that high-bandwidth fiber isn’t an option in an existing building, but a new installation initiative makes it possible.  

With online streaming, remote work and multi-IoT-device homes, high-speed and reliable internet are a mandate for residents. On new multifamily buildings, developers are installing fiber infrastructure throughout the building—but achieving the same quality internet to vintage building residents has faced logistical challenges. However, Mark Delgado, the lead relationship manager for the national account team at Quantum Fiber, believes they’ve cracked this puzzle: fiber overbuild with a strategic partnership.  

Mark Delgado, Quantum Fiber

A fiber overbuild delivers fiber internet directly to each unit in an existing apartment complex, or what Quantum Fiber calls a brownfield site. Delgado says that the process is possible by carefully evaluating the infrastructure to find optimal implementation pathways and working closely with property management to coordinate with residents and access each unit in the building.  

Working Within Existing Infrastructure 

In some cases, a fiber overbuild lays the fiber cables alongside existing telephone cables already installed in the building. Because telephone lines connect to each unit, Quantum Fiber can follow this map to deliver fiber internet to each unit in the same way. But in other cases, more creative paths must be drafted. It varies for every building due to their material makeup, accessibility, and other factors. “Fortunately, fiber is flexible, can be bent around corners, and angled into tight spaces. Some fiber is even small enough to be almost invisible when carefully placed along ceilings or molding,” explains Delgado. 

The installation delivers the same speed and internet quality as a new construction development, plus fiber is future proof. Higher speeds and new service features can advance through software upgrades or by swapping out equipment. Quantum Fiber developed this vigorous strategy in response to requests from apartment owners to provide an internet product that meets current resident demand.  

“We strategically placed extra focus on overbuilds because we know the internet speed gap and demand for speed is quickly growing,” explains Delgado. “Properties need to stay competitive as newer properties will likely have fiber internet. We’ve seen a huge jump in interest over the past few years.” 

Although this sounds like a major project, Delgado ensures that they pursue the most efficient and streamlined approach possible. This includes creating a thorough design plan, securing the materials before breaking ground and coordinating the plan with management and residents. “Our goal is to make it as least disruptive as possible” says Delgado.  

Putting Residents First 

A fiber overbuild addresses resident demand for exceptional internet at home, and for that reason, residents should always be at top of mind during the installation process. Because the fiber cables are connected to each unit, installers must access each living unit to connect the fiber and install a modem. This helps eliminate the need for any additional equipment or support after installation is complete. Once activated, residents can sign up for internet service within minutes. And the modem stays in the unit so when a new resident moves into one of these units, they can also get instant service at signup. This can save time and cost, plus it fosters an attractive amenity.  

According to Delgado, working with an end-to-end partner like Quantum Fiber can help ensure a smooth process. “We don’t just hand the property manager the plan and check in after 30 days. A representative will check in frequently or in real time,” says Delgado, adding that they put in the effort because they see a tremendous benefit. “It’s exciting for us because we believe in the value this brings properties in a competitive market. And it’s important that the places we call home have the technology to keep up with our fast-adoption of technology and always-connected lives.”

Contact a Quantum Fiber Connected Communities expert to learn about connectivity solutions tailored to your multifamily community.

Quantum Fiber® Connected Communities provides customized fiber solutions for apartments and communities.

Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2023 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

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