This week, Comcast Business Class announced the results of its 2011 State of Communications Services in Commercial Real Estate Survey and asked me if I'd do the honor of guest blogging about what this news means to the industry. First, a bit of background about the survey results:

In August 2011, Comcast's online survey polled nearly 500 building owners and property managers at high rise commercial office buildings, suburban office parks, healthcare facilities, government buildings and educational institutions across the U.S. about their opinions on advanced communications in their properties.

One of the survey questions polled respondents' opinions of how important advanced communications are to attracting and retaining tenants. In the end, the survey found that a whopping 90% of building owners and property managers place "access to advanced communications services" as a top priority for tenants, ahead of on-site gyms, cafeterias and other building amenities. In fact, the only things that ranked higher were the obvious "big three:" price, parking and location.

After reading these survey results, I immediately thought of the trend I'm seeing in our buildings here in Michigan. The question about our communications providers arises more and more during negotiations as an increasing number of businesses seem to be moving towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing. The survey also validates that I'm not the only one hearing this question on a frequent basis — over one-third of the respondents said that the topic of communications providers is raised in three out of every four negotiations with prospective tenants.

As a result, Farbman Group just announced that we'll be offering Comcast Business Services to tenants at our Sheffield Office Park in Troy, Michigan, which consists of 520,000 square feet over three facilities. Previously, this location had satellite-based Internet services and we frequently experienced downtime and slow incident response times. We realized this was a big issue. We needed maximum uptime for our tenants, which is why we have switched to Comcast.

These survey results are quite telling in regards to what's currently on the minds of building owners and property managers, and working with a company like Comcast is a good way to get on board with the trend of advanced communications - to attract and retain tenants.