A common challenge for many businesses is having adequate connectivity. You’d think in the US this isn’t an issue but I can tell you from firsthand experience (I am also CEO of a New York and Connecticut provider of IT support), in many buildings, the landlord signs an exclusive contract with a carrier and subsequently the tenants are stuck with one, often poor choice. Quite often, these buildings have only copper connections and they are generally very old. In other words, the telco locks in a building to avoid having to upgrade service to compete with cablecos.
In a meeting with CommScope at MWC16, they shared their new global research which reveals that access to cellular mobile coverage indoors could increase a property’s value by 28% – meaning a £2.5 million office building could be worth £700,000 more with a dedicated indoor cellular system. As of this writing that figure equates to just under one million US dollars.
The research was carried out by Coleman Parkes who surveyed the professionals who design and manage such buildings. In my experience, when wired broadband connectivity is lacking, these buildings are generally located in areas where wireless signals are also poor.
It goes without saying these tenants will think twice before renting again in such buildings and moreover, they will likely expect even better wireless connectivity from the buildings they consider. This makes more sense when you consider how many companies are moving to the cloud and need constant, hiccup –free connectivity.
Dr. Ispran Kandasamy, global leader, Building Solutions, CommScope, believes building professionals should take greater responsibility.
“People are obsessed with their mobile phones and see indoor wireless coverage as important as having access to water and electricity,” said Kandasamy. “The time has come for building professionals to step forward and take ownership for connecting their tenants to mobile
“While there are clearly concerns around the cost and complexity of the technology, building owners must acknowledge that ignoring this issue could result in more costly work in the future. Engaging with architects, facilities managers and enterprises at an early stage will ultimately save money – as well as providing an enhanced user experience.
“Only by taking the lead will building owners be able to provide much needed connectivity in their properties.”
CommScope has a blend of distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells (thanks to its Airvana acquisition.) according to Bill Walter, who handles corporate communications for the company. Colin Bryce said the company focuses on commercial grade service put into buildings – not femtocells you might purchase at Best Buy. In addition, the company focuses on airports, stadiums and other large deployments which may need to handle multi-operator systems.
I asked why customers should choose CommScope and the reply was “We extend carrier grade in buildings and provide a breadth of solutions for numerous building sizes and commercial applications.”
As leases come up for renewal, building owners will be under more pressure than ever to ensure tenants are able to have seamless connectivity within their organizations so they can effectively run their businesses.
In case you’re interested, the MSP I am involved with recently had many problems with bonding two DSL lines for a customer due to very poor connectivity from the carrier. In addition, a local restaurant has been plagued with connectivity problems keeping them from effectively charging customers for their food. In both cases the incumbent LEC with its old copper wires was the sole provider. I expect that companies will soon wise up and not rent in buildings which don’t have competitive broadband options or at least solid wireless alternatives.