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Approach an MDU Property Owner in 5 Steps (Updating Network Infrastructure)

July 16th, 2021 | 6 min. read

Approach an MDU Property Owner in 5 Steps (Updating Network Infrastructure)
Bill Halvorsen

Bill Halvorsen

Bill Halvorsen, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, has worked in the telecommunications industry for 32 years. Starting his career as a radio repairman, electronics technician, and data network specialist in the Marines, Bill was hired by Cisco Systems to deliver services to service providers around the globe. After 21 years at Cisco, Halvorsen was hired by CCI Systems to specialize in Broadband Access Architectures as a Solution Architect.

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Approaching a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) property owner (or manager) to update their network infrastructure can be a challenge for service providers.

This scenario can be especially difficult when the MDU is not receiving any complaints from tenants and their occupancy rate is 100% at any given time. The old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” applies here.

The service provider needs to motivate change. But how?

Right off the bat, two questions pop up.

  1. Why—as a rental owner or manager—would you want to make this change to your broadband offer for your tenants?
  2. Why does a broadband operator or service provider want to capture more MDUs?

Both of these questions revolve around the need to speed up and grow premium customer captureBroadband providers need subscribers, multi-dwelling units need tenants, and an MDU is an ideal space for both of their needs to be met.

A partner, like CCI Systems, can help your company understand commercial dynamics and solutions that coexist with existing and sometimes dated MDU infrastructure. Our consultative experience has a track record of enhancing and adapting to infrastructure needs at a lower cost, rather than reinventing the wheel.

Plus, 3 of our 4 best solutions for updating existing MDU infrastructure are interoperable with a current content offering, like DISH or DirecTV.

If you are approaching an MDU property owner with the intent to update the existing infrastructure, here are 5 steps to take for a productive conversation, and potentially, a new customer.

1. Know the Need of the Market


As a general rule of thumb, MDUs tend to have their content package set up through a major satellite or cable provider, and their tenants are being fed entertainment.

As a service provider, you need to keep in mind what the need of the market is. In most cases, multi-dwelling units will need a better broadband source.

If your sales team needs a selling point, it is the offering of highspeed data availability that can hold the most appeal.

Educating your team on the commercial dynamics of the industry is imperative to understanding the mindset of an MDU property owner.

Do the research, get educated, and be rewarded with positive outcomes.

2. Go to the Property Owner with Consultive Approach

Introducing yourself, your company, and your company’s offering can be approached from two different angles: explain why an upgrade will beat out the competition and propose a unit audit.


Why An Upgrade Will Keep an MDU Ahead of the Competition

Put on your thinking cap and put on the shoes of the MDU property owner. The primary goal of owning this apartment complex, duplex, or hotel is to increase profits over time to expand and increase market saturation.

This is where a service provider has leverage.

Rental properties are skyrocketing in demand in 2021, just like the housing market, but a rental property offers specific criteria a tenant may be looking for.

To serve a remote, work-from-home culture, priorities have shifted from amenities such as a pool and a dog park to a good broadband connection.

To stay ahead of the competition, property owners need to enhance their current offerings to meet the demand of their potential customers.

Propose and Schedule a Unit Audit

Offer your company as a resource or consultant to a property owner who might not know what their network infrastructure actually is.

You can add value to a proposal by offering a unit audit, seeing what the condition of the existing infrastructure is, and ensuring the solution is ironclad and works.

Assessing the structural information will enable you, as the service provider, to give an accurate and achievable estimate for future data speeds.

Rely on the expertise and experience of a trusted solution provider to be certain all aspects of the audit and market analysis are covered.

3. Provide a Hardened Solution or Set of Solutions

Go to the property owner with a hardened solution for the appropriate environment and the in-premise wiring.

This is directly associated with doing your due diligence and knowing the need of the market.

The solution should speak for itself, in part eliminating any worries of the property owner. No matter how bad or outdated an MDU’s coax or cable is, your offering should provide an increase of multiple 100-megabits per second of service.

A hardened solution for an MDU is not having a solution that works over miles of twisted pair or coax, it's a solution that works over hundreds of feet of twisted pair and coax. Big difference!

This media conversion, or gateway, is taking some of the technology of the service provider, routing it to a box of a specific media format, and distributing it out to multiple units, apartments, or houses.

Whether this is using coax, a passive optical network (PON), or even fixed wireless, it is important to ensure the connection/signal is hardened from the box into the dwelling.

4. A Good Solution with Little Intrusion

It's always best to keep it simple.

The solution should touch as little of the MDU as possible to achieve the greatest impact.

Do not go into the project intending to re-pull wire, add ribbon fiber, or add fiber to the unit. This will cause you to touch plenty of infrastructure and cause added costs that could have been avoided.

Use preexisting twisted pair and coax, if possible.

Part of the solution will involve technicians with adequate skill sets. Good training will offer better evaluations of the existing infrastructure.

For instance, there could be a wiring closet in a single unit, which serves as the core of the entire apartment complex.

A thorough technician will make sure there is not a second or a third wiring closet to account for. They will know with certainty, there is not a splitter or RF amplifier that needs to be removed.

This is where the help of an outsourced solution provider can come in handy for a team that might lack those specific resources.

5. Continued Post-Sales Support


Continued post-sales support means the service provider has to treat the property owner as a commercial account.

It's not residential with one property owner, but a concentrated quantity of individual units, anywhere from 4-to-8-to-12 units. If the solution has an issue, the impact is exponentially greater on the subscribers, depending on the size of the MDU. 

Because of the increased number of units, post-sales support becomes critical.

In turn, this leads to the necessity of a proactive approach to support.

If you are not ready to take on hospitality or MDU support, consider seeking contact center support to be your smart hands and improve your brand.

A Beginning to End Success Story

It is important to keep a continued focus on the value of upgrading network infrastructure to keep up with or stay ahead of the competition. Speaking in these terms will resonate with an MDU property owner.

Upgraded content offerings with multiple levels of highspeed internet packages to select from can be attractive to prospective tenants, the literal lifeblood of an MDU. This drives the need to keep up the health of a network’s infrastructure.

CCI Systems has years of experience working with service providers who want to move into the multi-dwelling unit arena. Our team can build an economy of scale geared toward the appropriate solution for any given MDU.

When a customer consults with CCI to build out an MDU solution, the necessary steps are taken in the beginning to ensure their success in the end.

 If you are a service provider who is ready to target the commercial MDU market, let’s chat and start developing a plan.