6 Telecom Questions to Ask Before Signing Your Office Lease

26 October, 2021 / Alan Rosinsky
Woman diagnosing server hardware for improved telecom in NYC office space.

Slow internet, video call issues, and dropouts caused by poor telecom infrastructure in buildings are everyday struggles for all of us. Unfortunately, some New York City neighborhoods are notorious for slow and expensive internet service, leaving businesses with limited options.

When searching for office space, prioritizing a robust communications infrastructure, including fast internet, VoIP, and networking, is crucial, among other essential factors.

To ensure your office meets your technological and communications standards, ask your commercial real estate broker these six connectivity and telecom questions from the start of your search.

1. Office Building Telecom: Which Providers Offer Service?

One of the easiest connectivity options for commercial tenants is to use the property’s existing telecommunications network. However, this may not always meet your needs.

Discuss your telecom needs with a commercial realtor who can research properties and consider the availability and quality of services offered by different telecommunications providers in the city. Brokers will filter through providers, accounting for varying services, costs, bandwidths, availability, and quality. They will also understand the availability and quality of telecom services in each building, based on the installed hardware and service.

The telecommunications provider is responsible for installing the necessary wires and setting up your phones, cable, and internet. Your IT department or a private technology services company can proceed with configuring your local computer network, backup and storage solutions, security measures, and various servers necessary for efficient operations.

After completing the initial setup, these professionals will work to ensure that your technology infrastructure is running smoothly, with minimal downtime or disruptions.

Assess your needs and communicate them to your realtor to find a reliable telecom provider for efficient office telecommunications.

2. How Much Internet Bandwidth Does Your Business Require?

Finding the appropriate internet bandwidth for your business can take time and effort. However, ensuring that your internet service provider delivers upload and download speeds that fulfill your company’s needs is crucial. The upload and download speeds refer to the rate at which data moves to or from your devices, with higher rates indicating faster data transfer.

You will likely use multiple computers and devices simultaneously during your daily operations. To prevent one employee’s actions from affecting others, such as when a device downloads software updates in the background and slows down the internet for everyone else, it’s important to consider your business’s overall internet needs. Business owners often need to pay more attention to the internet speed necessary for smooth operations.

Insufficient bandwidth due to VoIP reliance can result in dropped calls and poor call quality. For regular use of multiple devices simultaneously, each device in your business requires at least 15 Mbps for downloading and 5 Mbps for uploading bandwidth. You may require higher bandwidth for more demanding tasks, like 4K video streaming or high-quality video posting. Fiber connections can offer up to 1500 Mbps download and 1000 Mbps upload for almost instantaneous internet operations. However, these services can be expensive under business service agreements and may not be readily available.

Finally, consider the importance of cloud backups for key business assets and data. Cloud services like iCloud, Google Drive, and Amazon S3 can cause bandwidth congestion during business hours, hindering data uploads from other devices due to large backups. In addition, until the backup is complete, video conferencing and file sharing may be problematic, resulting in dropouts.

3. Do You Need Extra Bandwidth for Specific Operations?

Are you constantly sharing media files or creating high-quality video content for your business? To ensure seamless file transfers, your company may require extra bandwidth, especially if you’re in the marketing, advertising, public relations, or creative industries that rely heavily on social media platforms.

In contrast, financial firms such as hedge funds engage in high-frequency trading that demands a super-fast internet connection. Redundancy is also critical in this context to prevent potential losses due to lost connections. In addition, having access to multiple service providers ensures uninterrupted trading, even during an outage.

Furthermore, financial services firms may need to maintain “low latency” connections with other organizations, such as stock exchanges or data centers. To achieve fast transaction execution, being physically close to these organizations is necessary.

Your commercial real estate broker can help you narrow down office building options that offer high-speed connectivity in New York City. Additionally, they can find buildings with redundant connections upon request.

4. Will You Host Your Server in Your New Space, or Will You Host Your Server Remotely?

Regarding data storage and security, each company has different needs. For instance, outsourcing to a provider like Amazon is often popular as it saves space and costs.

If you require a server closet, you must consider several variables, including ensuring adequate electricity for your servers. Additionally, it’s necessary to have 24/7 air conditioning in the server room to avoid generating excessive heat. Failure to provide sufficient cooling could result in premature failure and data loss.

Newer servers emit less heat and are more energy efficient, so upgrading may prove cost-effective, avoiding supplemental air conditioning. Large data centers upgrade every 3-5 years. Smaller businesses can wait longer but should consult a Technology Services company.

They can provide practical options tailored to your specific needs, saving money and simplifying your operations when moving to a new office space.

5. Does Your Company Need Cable Television?

Although cable television may not be essential for some, it can be crucial for certain businesses. Financial firms rely on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business, while public relations companies need easy access to the news. Retail tenants and restaurants often provide cable TV for their customers.

It’s important not to overlook cable or other telecom features when searching for an office space. Instead, communicate your needs to your commercial realtor, as many properties have wiring for at least one cable provider.

6. Can a Commercial Landlord Provide Ethernet Cabling, Servers, Routers, and Device Cabling for a New Office Tenant?

Businesses require high-speed internet cables for trading terminals, audio-visual setups, and smart office features to meet today’s technological needs. However, older properties may not have the electrical capacity required. In such cases, upgrading may become necessary.

In most cases, landlords pre-build commercial spaces to a generic layout that includes electrical distribution. However, if a tenant requires customization, the landlord usually builds a raw space within a specific budget. Though electrical wiring installation is one of the construction costs covered by a tenant improvement allowance, the landlord typically does not provide any credit for telecom and internet wiring. Therefore, this cost falls on the tenant.

Furthermore, installing electrical distribution in an office space can be considerably more complicated than a simple fixture change. Therefore, having the landlord handle the buildout is often more practical for businesses, as it avoids the aggravation of dealing with contractors and unexpected complications.

The Key Takeaway

For businesses to operate efficiently and remain competitive, embracing technology is vital in today’s digital age. It has revolutionized how we work and communicate, and reliable telecom services are crucial for any company.

When searching for new office space, asking the right questions about telecom services is integral to finding a suitable space that meets your needs. By clearly communicating your requirements to your commercial realtor, you can find a space with the necessary infrastructure for your company’s success, such as high-speed internet, reliable phone service, and advanced security features.

Doing so can create a productive and connected workplace optimized for the modern business landscape. Don’t overlook the importance of telecom when searching for new office space, as it can significantly impact your business’s success.

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