Comcast: DOCSIS 3.1 shines in the MDU market

April 3, 2018
In the competitive multiple dwelling unit (MDU) market, amenities matter to existing and potential residents. What kind of high-speed Internet can they access? How convenient is moving in? Are there options when ...

In the competitive multiple dwelling unit (MDU) market, amenities matter to existing and potential residents. What kind of high-speed Internet can they access? How convenient is moving in? Are there options when it comes to communicating with property managers?

What doesn't necessarily matter is how these services are delivered, said Mike Slovin, VP of Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Xfinity Communities, noting that while fiber is great, particularly in greenfield properties, retrofitting existing buildings is costly and complicated.

"Residents don't really care about the physical network infrastructure; they care about speed," Slovin said.

DOCSIS 3.1 can deliver the same gigabit speeds as fiber, and all residents have to do is swap out a modem. No cracking of walls or pulling of fiber necessary.

"Best of all, DOCSIS 3.1 is infrastructure agnostic, meaning it can run over legacy coaxial cable network or fiber," Slovin said. "(Also,) while fiber may seem like the new kid on the block, DOCSIS 3.1 is still young and improving. It's been updated several times since CableLabs first released it in late 2013, and I'd argue that DOCSIS 3.1 is the true forward-facing technology based not only on its ability to deliver top speeds today, but to continue growing its capabilities into the future."

Moving day is a sore subject for many reasons, but if a building manager can help ease the pain in any way, residents will certainly appreciate it, Slovin said. Immediate Internet service activation allows new residents to access WiFi easily instead of having to wait for a technician to show up.

"They can select a service package and get online immediately. There's still plenty of unpacking and furniture arranging to do, but at least they can do it while streaming their favorite music or TV show in the background," Slovin said.

Properties also can offer other services, including an on-site amenities list, access codes to common rooms, guides for using the gym, and instructions for connecting to common area WiFi, Slovin said. For the manager, a community account representative can be a "lifesaver."

"A platform that allows property managers to communicate directly with technology provider reps on major upcoming events, projects, etc., gives a clear outline of those ongoing initiatives and offers insight into how those items are progressing. This ultimately lets managers communicate with their provider and understand their property's digital amenity offerings to more effectively serve their residents," Slovin said.

In turn, managers can offer a custom webpage for the property that gives information on happenings at the building and what kind of digital amenities are available. "The idea behind this concept is opening the ever more popular lines of digital communication to serve residents the way they want to be served," Slovin said.

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