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To Be or Not To Be an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Apartment buildings and their tenants need internet - there's no question about that. But how should it be provided? Find out why you should or shouldn't become an internet service provider for your managed properties.

There is no question that internet access is ubiquitous and critically important to the everyday operations of people, systems, and businesses. While we can all agree that internet connectivity to students, families, and businesses is essential, we sometimes have differing views on how this service should be provided.

Internet As an Amenity

The connectivity problems of commercial tenants are less acute. To ensure smooth operations, they should have a corporate IT team that determines diversity, redundancy, and security requirements. An owner or property manager can ensure multiple networks are present at the promise and leave it to the tenant. Residential properties can be more challenging. 

We’ve all agreed (because the market dictates it) that we MUST have an internet service and, in many cases, it is included in the rent. But now what?

Build Or Buy?

Like most other business investments, an owner (or manager) must make a “Build or Buy” determination. An owner or property manager usually does not consider building a nationwide backbone with network and security operations centers. 

That is not what we mean by build. In this case, build means contracting with an ISP to provide bulk bandwidth to a property. The cost of doing so can be low, but you are now in the internet business. You get calls from your customers when a circuit is down, when two or more wireless access points compete channels and bandwidth, or worse – but we will get to that. 

In practice, you have saved a buck but are now responsible for a critical service that you do not control. At Keystone Real Estate Group, LP, we have decided to sell our core business services (Property Management and Brokerage) and buy someone else’s core business service, in this case, internet. However, it is still not that simple. What type of service also matters. 

Let’s share a cautionary tale that happens to be the “or worse” that informed our decision. A property manager received a “cease and desist” letter from an adult video website threatening litigation. It turns out that a customer was downloading adult content and hosting their own web server with stolen content. Obviously, the manager had no insight into the nefarious activity, but neither did the ISP, or they did not care. Keystone’s provider has capabilities that ensure the internet service cannot be used in this manner. 

Not All Internet Is Created Equal

Consistent with our build or buy determination, we will let Dojo Networks, our preferred Managed-WiFi provider, articulate the benefits of managed service over basic bulk service in their helpful article about the topic.

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