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Arizona Telecommunications & Information Council (ATIC)
Multitenant Building Telecommunications Access Study
Varying Points of View-- Tenants and Economic Development Interests

Varying Points of View:

Building Managers and Owners:

Smart Buildings: Facilities for the Information Age
Where are all the employees complaining that the office is too hot or too cold or too hot and too cold? Where are the workers who used to wear baseball caps at their desks to cut down on the overhead glare? How about that guy with the surgical mask trying to avoid a case of sick building syndrome? Increasingly, these people are in "smart" buildings that can accommodate the latest products and system designs for everything from computers to lighting, heating, and security equipment.

But the newest push is for buildings that are smart enough to accommodate the growing array of telecommunications and computer equipment that's available today. The mantra real estate developers have chanted for years has been "location, location, location." However, that is rapidly changing to "location, bandwidth, location."

 -- Don Mooradian, Plant Sites & Parks' (PS&P's) Location Strategies, January, 2000

Building owners and managers are just as caught up in the Information Age as their fellow citizens. By and large they recognize that there is a revolution in telecommunications services and markets, brought on by advancing technologies, deregulated marketplaces, enormous financial investments, converging industries, and relentless consumer demand. But they are in business to manage their investments in their multitenant properties for good a good return on investment and increase in valuation over time.

The value of owning the intervening property between the Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) and the business or residential tenants and acting in the role of gatekeeper may yield an initial payment arrangement from a new CLEC or perhaps ongoing revenue stream participation, especially if somewhat exclusive arrangements can be reached. Alternatively, owners may promote the increased attractiveness of "open access" property to contemporary tenants along with commensurate improvements in tenant attraction and retention (higher occupancy rates) and per annum rental rates. Or owners may themselves become TSPs, investing in switching systems to deliver and bill services. Additionally, telecommunications providers may become business tenants themselves by locating Points-of-Presence (POPs), switching centers, and cellular wireless towers in and/or on leased commercial facilities at competitive commercial rental rates.

Property owners may feel that competitive telecommunications access is already working well in the marketplace. Increasingly, some are responding to tenant desires for competitive access to advanced telecommunications services with flexible and noninterventionist policies. Other building owners and managers, if hard-pressed to revise their practices and expectations relative to competitive telecommunications providers and their access to tenants, will rise to resolutely defend their Constitutionally protected property rights. Indeed, such rights remain a stalwart principle of Western democracy, though often mitigated by concerns for the public interest. Any perceived attempt to abrogate those rights will bring on a violation of property rights and "forced access" defense. However, there remain significant legal precedents for requiring access to essential facilities and infrastructure in the public interest. The language of "open access" vs. "forced access" seems to leave little middle ground, bringing tension to the stakeholder relationship, often stalling forward progress on negotiating access, and sometimes leading to judicial action or other possible government intervention. Solutions and an acceptable value proposition must be found for all the stakeholders and their interests.

A new type of high-rise is starting to dot the skylines of metropolitan areas, offering well-heeled city dwellers units with cyberviews. Just as many hotels are striving to give their guests high speed Internet access, developers are beginning to distinguish their properties with a similar amenity. Leveraging the economies of scale afforded by high-density housing, builders are deploying high speed data networks in apartment and condominium complexes along with the more traditional infrastructures for electricity, plumbing, heat and air conditioning, voice telephony, cable TV and garbage disposal. Homeowners and tenants can get a high-speed Internet dial tone at the flip of a switch, and for a fraction of the price they would pay if they were ordering the same bandwidth individually. Service providers can streamline operations by dealing with hundreds of customers at once. And buildings don't get punched with holes and decorated with cable spaghetti dripping down their sides.
 -- Cyber-Condominiums Are Wired for ADSL, Network World, March 30, 1998

There is indeed a trend to Smart Buildings to serve the smart tenants of today. New building design and construction should certainly be carefully designed for multi-vendor telecommunications access from both the street and the rooftop. Internally, the capacity of wiring closets and risers should be sized to allow for future growth and the entire building structure pre-wired where practical to support distribution of advanced capabilities and services. Remodeling of existing structures should also incorporate these design features and perhaps innovatively reuse earlier internal pathways as communications conduits (i.e. - unused elevator shafts, mail chutes, and chimneys).

The building's infrastructure and network topology should anticipate and allow for flexible utilization and expansion capability. Expect continued evolution of technology and the carrying capacity of existing Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) wiring, usually Category-5 (CAT-5), which will evolve from Ethernet 10Base-T to 100Base-T to Gigabit per second data speeds and beyond. Additionally, in-building fiber optic cables can carry enormous capacity up to the Terabit per second range. Basement spaces may serve as valuable provider Points-of-Presence (POPs) for switching and routing equipment while cellular antenna systems on rooftops serving the surrounding geographic region may be leased with possible collocation revenue participation. There are however structural considerations and professional engineering reviews and evaluations that may be necessary before committing to use.

While the pace of technology development can be mind boggling, entire industries are rarely transformed overnight. Most (property) managers tend to overestimate the impact of technology in the short term and underestimate its long-term impacts.
 -- Peter Pike, founder of the Pikenet ( online directory of real estate services in Investment Property and Real Estate Capital Markets Report (

Multitenant Building Telecommunications Access Study
Varying Points of View--Tenants and Economic Development Interests