On October 28, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a Forum to address options for easing the "spectrum crunch" in wireless broadband and cellular access, a top priority for the Commission. Current demand for bandwidth already vastly exceeds the available wireless spectrum, and growing demand for high-speed access will further exacerbate the problem for both businesses and consumers, including apartment owners and residents.
Although the FCC has not yet initiated a formal rulemaking process to address the problem, the Forum will likely influence the direction of an eventual propos that could impact apartment firms.
Speaking on behalf of NMHC/NAA, Lyn Lansdale (AvalonBay Communities, Inc.,) discussed resident expectations for WiFi and cellular access in apartment communities, and the corresponding public policies, market demands, and infrastructure/engineering challenges that can prevent apartment owners from satisfying those needs.
Solving that problem is challenging for apartment owners because many factors may limit wireless reliability, including design and building materials, and because a community may be served by multiple and variable telecommunications providers. Lansdale also noted that local mandates to ensure broadband access for police and fire department communications have increasingly required costly building retrofits.
A recorded webcast of the FCC Forum is available at http://fcc.us/oKdBua.