PHILADELPHIA – High-speed Internet is more important to commercial tenants than gyms, cafeterias or other building amenities, according to Comcast‘s State of Communications Services in Commercial Real Estate Survey. According to nearly 500 commercial real estate building owners and property managers, access to advanced communications services outweighs other amenities as a top priority for tenants when choosing office locations. In fact, 90 percent of respondents ranked advanced communications above only price, parking and location.

More than a third of respondents said prospective tenants raise access to advanced communications services in negotiations at least three-quarters of the time. Many property owners and building managers are now expanding their network infrastructure options and using broadband technologies to gain a competitive edge and marketing tool for attracting and retaining tenants.

Survey findings include:

  • Ninety percent of building owners and managers call access to advanced communications the most important selling point behind price, parking and location.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents say advanced communications in their buildings provide them with a competitive advantage.
  • Half of respondents say multiple service provider options positively impact occupancy rates by up to 19 percent.
  • More than one-third of respondents say the topic of advanced communications services is discussed in at least three-quarters of negotiations with prospective tenants.

    “Access to advanced communications for tenants is a key factor when [they are] selecting a space for their business,” says Linda Warda, property manager at Farbman Group, a company that manages more than 20 million square feet of office, retail, multifamily and industrial space throughout Southeast Michigan. “When we equipped our buildings with advanced communications, it generated a lot of excitement among our tenants. Our tenants needed a highly-reliable, all-in-one solution that would allow them to quickly and easily receive Internet, phone and cable television services without reaching out to different providers.”

    “At our recent annual conference, building owners and managers were talking about strategies for making their buildings ‘smart’ from both a sustainability and a technological standpoint,” says Patricia M. Areno, CAE, senior vice president of BOMA international. “Access to advanced communications seems to be a new competitive advantage when marketing buildings to tenants, and these survey results illustrate that communications is an ever-increasing priority for commercial property owners.”

    The 2011 State of Communications Services in Commercial Real Estate Survey was conducted in August 2011 and polled nearly 500 building owners and property managers across the U.S., including high-rise commercial office buildings, suburban office parks, health care facilities, government buildings and educational institutions. The online questionnaire asked members of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) about their opinions of advanced communications services.

    “As businesses look to accelerate their operations and reduce IT costs with SaaS and cloud-based services, companies are realizing that a scalable, reliable wide-area network connection is critical to the success of their business, which is precisely why access to multiple fiber network connections is a top priority in recent office space searches,” says Terry Connell, senior vice president of Comcast Business Services. “From high-rises in cities to suburban office parks, Comcast Business Class is already in 20 of the top 25 markets in the U.S., and we continue to actively build out our all-fiber network.”

    To provide additional perspective on this trend, Comcast Business Services will also host a webinar entitled “Telecom 2011: Empowering Access to the Cloud on Friday, October 14 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET” that will feature a discussion of telecom history and current trends, including highlights and implications of the 2011 State of Communications Services in Commercial Real Estate Survey results. There will also be a panel discussion for building owners and managers at the conclusion of the webinar. For more information and to register, click here.