A new survey from WiredScore, the company behind the internationally recognized digital connectivity rating platform for real estate, shows that 86 percent of renters across North America face Wi-Fi connectivity issues, equating to around 20 service breakdowns per month. This is despite paying an average of $744 per year for their home internet service.
The research from the certification provider, which today launches its connectivity rating for residential properties, shows that affected US and Canadian renters and homeowners are forced to use on average 3.5GB of extra mobile data each month to compensate for their poor Wi-Fi – the additional cost of this totals $337 over the course of the year.*
The most significant issues experienced after general surfing were streaming TV / films (43 percent) and social media (33 percent). It was also found that online shopping (22 percent) was causing frustrated surfers to purchase extra mobile data to compensate for the poor Wi-Fi.
With the home acting as an extension of the office during the pandemic, business executives surveyed estimated that 77 percent of their company’s productivity relies on employees being able to reliably connect to the internet.
With four in five (83 percent) companies considering allowing employees to work remotely after the pandemic, but with 37 percent of workers experiencing sub-standard Wi-Fi as frequently as once a week or more, there is an issue for landlords to address connectivity in the multifamily market.
Arie Barendrecht, Founder and CEO of WiredScore, commented: “Connectivity is critical to every aspect of our lives – social, leisure, learning, and working. With 81 percent of respondents agreeing that building developers should strongly consider digital connectivity throughout the construction process, there is clear demand from an end user point of view.”
Social and educational impact
The cost of not having reliable, high-speed internet access goes beyond impacting work activities. Three-quarters of respondents acknowledged that high quality internet access has been crucial for them during the pandemic to support their physical and mental health and social ties. Nearly half used the internet to access critical telemedicine, counseling, and/or veterinary health services during the pandemic. Respondents also used the internet to stay in touch with family and friends through social media (46 percent) and FaceTime calls (44 percent).
Parents also relied on high-quality internet to keep their children in school through remote learning. For many families, this has come with significant challenges. A staggering four in ten children (38 percent) experienced remote learning disruption due to internet access issues.
Arie Barendrecht continues: “By implementing a new connectivity benchmark in existing and planned residential developments, we are confident that renters will be able to live in their homes safe in the knowledge that they can work, learn and socialize without ongoing connection issues.”
Wi-Fi is now an expected utility when looking for a new property, according to four in five respondents (84 percent) who expect this to work like any other utility. It’s not surprising then that 82 percent of renters think building developers should strongly consider Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the construction process of a property. In fact, half (48 percent) say that if they knew their property had poor connectivity they wouldn’t have moved in.
Kevin Donnelly, Vice President, Government Affairs at the National Multifamily Housing Council, added, “High quality digital connectivity is a critical requirement of the modern-day renter. As this report highlights and the pandemic has shown us, reliable broadband is essential to almost all aspects of our daily life. Multifamily landlords in particular have been setting out to prioritize connectivity and ensure a higher level of service and superior experience. To achieve this, they need to know that the buildings they are investing in can provide for renters today, and will also deliver the technology renters will be using tomorrow. WiredScore is a welcome development in the multifamily market and will help provide transparency and recognition for best-in-class digital infrastructure.”
The research launches alongside WiredScore Home in North America – a digital connectivity program for multifamily real estate. WiredScore Home ensures a best-in-class renter experience by helping residential landlords in North America navigate the complicated world of in-building technology. Forty-two buildings have signed up for WiredScore Home in North America, and over 14,000 apartments from industry leaders such as Hines, Greystar, JP Morgan, KingSett Capital, Starlight Developments, UDR, Cadillac Fairview, The John Buck Company, Skanska, McNair Interests, Crescent Communities, and Ascentris are putting their residents’ needs at the forefront of their offering by committing to improve the digital connectivity in their buildings through the WiredScore Home certification.
About the research
WiredScore commissioned Opinium to survey over 5,000 internet decision-makers in the U.S. and Canada in May 2021.
* This figure was calculated by taking the average amount of extra mobile data people across North America use to compensate for poor Wi-Fi (3.5GB) and cross referencing this with the average costs from leading network operators (the average costs of 1GB of data in the US is $8. Source: Cable). Through this, we can give the average cost figure for extra mobile data usage.
WiredScore is the organization behind the WiredScore and SmartScore certifications: the internationally recognized digital connectivity and smart building rating systems for real estate, helping landlords design and promote buildings with powerful digital connectivity and smart capabilities. WiredScore was founded in New York in 2013 by leaders in real estate, technology and telecommunications, with an endorsement from Mayor Bloomberg, to improve the city’s technology infrastructure, and support its entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs. Since then, over 700 million square feet of commercial and residential space has been committed to WiredScore certification, impacting over 7 million people across 12 countries.
For more information on WiredScore, SmartScore or to find WiredScore and SmartScore certified buildings, visit: www.wiredscore.com.
About The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC):
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) is the leadership of the trillion-dollar apartment industry. We bring together the prominent apartment owners, managers and developers who help create thriving communities by providing apartment homes for 40 million Americans. NMHC provides a forum for insight, advocacy and action that enables both members and the communities they help build to thrive. For more information, contact NMHC at 202/974-2300, e-mail the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.