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Competition For Amazon HQ2 Emphasizes Digital Connectivity In Buildings

Competition For Amazon HQ2 Emphasizes Digital Connectivity In Buildings
The Amazon HQ Sphere in Seattle

Cities are going to great lengths to curry favor with Amazon during its HQ2 selection process. 

The detailed request for proposals counts access to large metropolitan areas and mass transit among its top demands. The need for strong digital infrastructure is also a top priority on the RFP. Amazon has called for a new HQ with optimal fiber connectivity and multiple cellular phone coverage maps. 

With the deadline this week, access to reliable connectivity could become the deciding factor in where the e-commerce giant will build its second home. 

More businesses are looking for properties that can provide reliable service. Businesses are increasingly dependent on cloud computing, large file transfers and other digital means of communication. The push for flexible workspace and mobile working policies has highlighted the weak spots in existing internet coverage.


Internet can no longer be an afterthought for a business, and speed and reliability are instrumental to success. Companies like Amazon have an eye toward the future, and reliable internet connectivity is essential in developing and deploying new technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality

Cities that have taken an active role in improving broadband planning and policy could stand out during the HQ2 selection process. 

Competition For Amazon HQ2 Emphasizes Digital Connectivity In Buildings
Fiber optic spools

The Boston Planning & Development Agency took a leap forward in preparing for current and future telecommunications infrastructure demands with an addition to Article 80. Boston became the first city to work with WiredScore to integrate the technical principles of broadband-ready building design into the real estate development process. 

New York City has focused on public WiFi accessibility with LinkNYC. The initiative converted unused phone booths into hot spots and civic information centers. Combined with the MTA’s rollout of internet access across every subway station by 2018, pedestrians will stay connected both above and below ground. 

Improving the density of fiber networks throughout cities is another way for municipal governments to encourage strong digital connectivity. Newark, New Jersey, for instance, benefits from a dense network of fiber optic cables, which has led to its revitalization as a tech hub.

Local officials can offer subsidies for shrinking digital deserts, and dig-once policies can lower the cost of broadband deployment by providing internet companies access to state- or city-owned rights of way. 

For individual buildings, achieving Wired Certification indicates to tenants that the property has reliable connectivity. Amazon has already signed leases at two Wired Certified buildings: Brookfield Properties’ Five Manhattan West in NYC and Hines’ T3 building in Minneapolis.

The commercial real estate rating system empowers landlords to understand, improve and promote their buildings' digital infrastructure. It also creates a connectivity standard for newly developed buildings. 

An HQ built to Wired Certification standards ensures the property is future-proofed for new technology 10 to 20 years down the line. The more Wired Certified buildings in a market, the stronger an indicator that local real estate professionals prioritize telecommunications.

In wooing one of the world’s most powerful companies and promoting a future-ready infrastructure, connectivity standards help landlords provide spaces that fuel innovation. 

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