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Google fiber internet worth an 11-percent rise in rental rates, study says

Bruce Brown
In possibly the last city for its gigabit fiber, Google Fiber announced sign-ups for Salt Lake City. Faced with challenges, time, and expense of burying cables, Google may switch to high-speed wireless elsewhere.

Would you like consistent access to a rock-solid, superfast internet connection? Of course you would, unless you live off the grid or off the internet — and since you’re reading this article that’s not you. But the bigger question is, how much extra would you be willing to pay for it?

It looks like most people in the U.S. will be getting faster internet connections during the next few years, but it also seems likely they’ll be paying more for it. A recent report by the Fiber to the Home Council (FTTH) found that landlords see the value of fiber-optic internet connections, because when they have it they can raise their rents by 11 percent on average, according to Silicon Beat.

Related: Google Fiber gives wireless gigabit plan a boost with Webpass ISP buyout

“These apartment and condominium owners and renters have lifestyles centering heavily on broadband use,” said the report. “(They) spend more time online and use online streaming video more than single-family-home residents of similar age. Fast and reliable broadband is now rated the single most important amenity.”

The FTTH further said, relating the report findings to the continued deployment of fiber connections, “The benefits of all-fiber, ultra-fast broadband networks are clear to people, so much so that it influences where they will live. Today’s findings further validate our mission as an organization: to promote investment in and adoption of fiber services throughout the country. We’re looking forward to working with more providers, communities and leaders to make that happen.”

In the study, the FFTH surveyed condominium buyers and renters and asked what discount amount they would seek if comparing otherwise identical properties with and without fiber internet connections. Condo buyers looking at $300,000 homes said they’d seek an average $8,628 discount, while renters would look for an $80 discount on a $1,000 monthly rent. Those numbers translate to 2.8 percent discounts for condo owners and 8 percent for renters — the latter amounts to an 11 percent net income gain for landlords with fiber internet.

So the good news to take away from this study for the 30 percent of us in the U.S. who live in multifamily dwellings, including apartments, condos, and townhouses, is that faster internet is on its way for more of us. The other news? So are higher rents.