Bulking up on NOI growth. The residential rental market.

By Alice LaPlante
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Imagine this scenario. You can justify higher rents, attract longer-term residents, and sustain high occupancy rates, even in today’s market. Plus, the value of your multifamily property increases. All without a dime of capital investment in facility upgrading or remodeling your units. The figures on both your income statement and balance sheet can show improvement. And, not coincidentally, so does your net operating income (NOI).

An opportunity for a property-wide internet agreement may have been pitched to you (and your competitors), but not everyone has the eye to see it through the NOI lens. Dan O’Connell, vice president, consumer sales for Quantum Fiber cuts right to the chase on key financial strategies.

O’Connell level-sets by saying “the market recognizes and values the inclusion of a fiber-based internet service as an amenity for which residents are willing to pay That can drive revenue growth and contribute to NOI gains. This crystallized for a lot of folks that high-speed broadband is a foundational necessity when suddenly everyone was working, living, playing, shopping, learning, and gaming from home. If you work with the right service provider partner, you can position it as an important amenity that you offer your residents in a way that distinguishes your property. Ultimately, it comes down to securing a long-term bulk fiber internet agreement with a Tier 1 service provider like Quantum Fiber.”

Dan O’Connell, Quantum Fiber

A bulk deal for fiber internet can raise revenues—and NOI.

The math is straightforward when it comes to figuring out what you can earn if you enter a bulk agreement with a reputable internet service provider. A bulk internet agreement is between an internet service provider ISP and multifamily owner or portfolio management firm. The ISP offers a multi-year bundle of internet services at a monthly rate—enough to service communities for years. And like anything purchased in bulk, there are advantages to the buyer (owner/management firm), primarily, an exceedingly competitive price.

$ monthly rate you charge all residents/units – $ property bulk monthly rate = $ incremental revenue. Now multiply by 12 (months).

If you’ve locked in a bulk rate for multiple years (typically 10) your total incremental revenue doubles by year two, triples by year three, and so on. The longer your bulk contract, the further ahead you can project revenue, as locking in a long-term contract gives you an advantageous rate well into the future. What’s more, over the years, the difference between the bulk rate you secured and the current fair market value—i.e., what your residents would pay on their own—would probably widen significantly. That means you can increase the monthly rate you charge over time. Factoring in such rate increases, you can see how revenue—and thus NOI—can jump significantly.

Pay attention to the details when negotiating a bulk contract, O’Connell warns by saying, “although a fixed-rate bulk agreement is standard for Quantum Fiber, it is not true of the industry at large. In fact, we consider it a very important aspect of our value proposition to multifamily communities.  Maybe some companies start with what seems like a nice introductory rate—perhaps one that’s $5 less per unit than what others are charging. But within a couple of years, that $5 advantage disappears, and you’ve got a lot of operating expense pain for the next six, seven, or eight years,” O’Connell explains.

Need more NOI-building calories?  

Fiber also impacts the other half of the NOI equation—reducing operating costs, dodging capital investment expenses, and planning for the long-term.

Typically no capital investment cost

“It’s all upside from a capital investment perspective for owners because the installation cost is all on us,” O’Connell says, “You don’t need to invest a penny in the installation—just sign the bulk agreement with Quantum Fiber, and you’re set. We’ll handle the construction work, install equipment to each living unit and activate the service.”

Occupancy rate efficiency

It’s a difficult economic environment now to focus on reducing expenses, given the costs associated with personnel, insurance, property maintenance, repair, or upgrades. With property expenses in mind O’Connell reiterates, “one important way to drive the highest occupancy rates possible is to retain longer-term renters. This saves you the costs to replace them.”

Gratis services for leasing office and common areas

Leading providers will include internet lines to on-site leasing offices or common areas as part of bulk agreements. Builders appreciate getting a no-fee, hardwired line that can support WiFi to their office, pool, gym or other common areas. And property managers can easily add a digital phone line plan for a nominal fee if needed for office use.

Eco-friendly and sustainable

Fiber infrastructure is environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient, which can save you dollars and your community’s conscience. What’s more, your residents and homeowners get instant activation and an always-on service.

Global cybersecurity

For Tier 1 providers, their global fiber network is a key layer to help protect against real-time threats and block malicious traffic before it reaches employees, residents, or devices at the property level.

“In Quantum Fiber’s case, as a Lumen Technologies brand, we have advanced cybersecurity capabilities because we can block or quarantine malicious content in real time,” said O’Connell. “Also at Quantum Fiber, we have safeguards at our equipment layer. Modems connect to a cloud-based system that uses machine learning to scan messages, files, and applications instantly.”

Win-win agreement

As critical as NOI is, it’s important for owners and managers to not pursue it at the expense of the resident experience. According to O’Connell, “you might get fiber at a lower rate from someone, but you must ensure that the commitment and quality is there as part of a true partnership. Pay attention to the details when negotiating a bulk contract. The right agreement terms with the right internet provider are critical components to your bottom line.”

Engaged partnership

Last, but not least, you don’t want a “set and forget” type of relationship with your partner. You should require a dedicated bulk program manager who regularly checks in and makes sure everything is going smoothly. “We do network health monitoring of our properties on a regular basis, and also provide complimentary services called gratis accounts,” said O’Connell.

Quantum Fiber delivers the whole connected world with ease.

For apartments, townhomes, garden homes, and single-family home communities, Quantum Fiber provides future-ready fiber internet and excellent service to all residents, which can give multifamily properties an edge over their competition and give families a place they want to call home.

Check out these related articles.

Residential fiber is now table stakes for boosting NOI (Part 1)

How multifamily properties can secure favorable bulk fiber contracts to boost NOI (Part 2)

Need for Speed: Apartment Renters Prioritize Digital Amenities

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

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

    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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