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Broadband Internet for Apartment Buildings and Condos
T1 dedicated Internet service offers the opportunity for landlords and real estate developers to offer broadband access to their tenants at a profit.

By: John Shepler

Real Estate developers and landlords know that broadband Internet service is becoming a utility, much like telephone service or even electricity. They eye the phone and cable companies and wonder if there is a way they could get in on the action. Actually, there is. In fact, the availability of high speed Internet access in every apartment might well be a competitive advantage.

The Advantage of Dedicated Internet Access
If you have designs on becoming an Internet Service Provider, even to a single building, you'll want to start with high reliability dedicated Internet access that you control. That's called T1 Internet or Dedicated Internet. The "dedicated" designation means that the full bandwidth of the T1 line is dedicated to your use. DSL and Cable may appear dedicated because a single wire enters the premises. But actually that Internet access is multiplexed or shared among dozens or even hundreds of other users. Consumer grade services often come with a restriction that you cannot share the line with others, and certainly not resell the service. That's what they are in the business of doing.

But with T1 Internet, you have a professional telecommunications service that small ISPs have traditionally used a network backbone. A T1 Router provided by the carrier connects to your building network to provide service to as many suites as you like. Typically, a single T1 line can serve up to 25 users. But you can also bond T1 lines together to multiply the bandwidth.

Bandwidth and Reliability
Each T1 line provides 1.5 Mbps both upload and download speeds. That's unlike other services that limit upload speed. While 1.5 Mbps may sound like a moderate bandwidth, consider that you and your tenants have this line to yourselves so it's going to be more than adequate in most cases. Bonding will give you speeds of 3 Mbps, 4.5 Mbps, 6 Mbps and so on up to about 12 Mbps.

Dedicated T1 service also comes with a SLA or Service Level Agreement. That's assurance that your line will provide a high level of availability and that you'll get quick response if there ever is an outage. T1 service is the most common digital telecommunications used by businesses, with proven reliability.

Tenant Access Strategy
The terms for providing broadband Internet service to tenants can vary from including it in the monthly rent to separately charging a monthly fee. You might even consider providing wireless routers and helping tenants set them up so they work with their equipment and don't interfere with other tenants.

Where T1 dedicated Internet access can really be a strategic advantage to a property is in areas where DSL and Cable Internet are not available. T1 lines can be provisioned just about anywhere you can get plain old telephone service.

How much does this approach cost? It varies by location, depending on distance to the network point of presence and available infrastructure. Prices start below $400 a month in major population areas. Even 10 tenants sharing this line would amount to a cost of $40 each per month each. If you have 25 users on a $500 T1 line, the cost per tenant is only $20. Even at twice the line cost, the per-tenant access cost is competitive with other broadband services.

Integrated Telephone and Internet Option
Another approach is to combine phone service and Internet on a single T1 line, called T1 Integrated voice and data service. Thismakes a lot of sense when you want telephone and Internet service for the office and Internet for the entire building. Each outside phone line only takes 64Kbps of bandwidth and some services provide a dynamic T1 line that lets the Internet users have all the bandwidth when there are no phone calls in progress.

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