City takes steps to ensure future development is broadband ready
May 30, 2017
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and the City of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WiredScore that will ensure that future residential and commercial developments strive to serve the broadband needs of Boston's residents and businesses. The MOU will add the Broadband Ready Building Questionnaire into Article 80, the BPDA's review process relating to new projects, planned development areas and institutional master plans to assess a project's impact on transportation, public realm, environment and historic resources and gather public input.
"In order for Boston to be an innovative and equitable city for all, we must ensure that all of our residents and businesses have access to reliable, fast, and, affordable broadband service," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud of our nation-leading work with WiredScore, which will lead to further success in creating a city committed to advancing broadband and digital equity goals."
The City of Boston is the first city to work with WiredScore to integrate the technical principles of broadband ready building design into the real estate development process. WiredScore is the company behind Wired Certification, the first and only international rating system for commercial real estate that allows businesses looking for office space to easily find best-in-class connected buildings. It also empowers landlords to promote their buildings' internet connectivity and infrastructure to tenants. Internet connectivity is rapidly becoming one of the most important utilities to business tenants and Wired Certification provides those tenants with crucial insight into connectivity as their requirements become more complex. Designing to Wired Certification standards ensures a new or re-development is tech-forward and ready for the next generation of business tenants.
"The Broadband Ready Building Questionnaire signifies the BPDA's recognition that connectivity must be a critical consideration for any new development," said Arie Barendrecht, founder and CEO of WiredScore. "By advocating for superior technological infrastructure in the development process, the City of Boston is further positioning itself as a sought-after destination for any innovative business dependent on high-speed, reliable broadband."
The Broadband Ready Building Questionnaire furthers the City of Boston's goals to cultivate a broadband ecosystem that serves the current and future connectivity needs of residents, businesses, and institutions. Departments across the City are working to streamline and otherwise adapt existing policies and processes to enable private investment in broadband infrastructure, expand broadband competition and choice for residents and businesses, and create a built environment that is equipped to support a diverse range of connectivity purposes now and in the future.
The questionnaire was created through a collaboration process including the BPDA, the City of Boston, DoIT, and WiredScore. It will enable the BPDA and the City to:
- Collect baseline telecommunications infrastructure information to inform future building codes and development policy;
- Utilize data that is collected to better understand how developers are thinking of broadband in the development process and how the BPDA and the City can support them in integrating best practices;
- Ensure that building stock meets current and future connectivity needs of residents and businesses;
- Advance the goal of residents and businesses having the choice of 2 or more wireline or fixed wireless high-speed Internet providers;
- Prime building stock to be responsive to new and emerging technology;
- Minimize disruption to the public right of way.
The Broadband Ready Building Questionnaire aligns with Wired Certification criteria, which enables the BPDA to mirror industry standard language and integrate industry best practices for developers.
Over 900 buildings, totaling more than 350 million square feet globally, have achieved Wired Certification designations., The Wired Certification criteria will allow the City to understand how Boston's broadband-ready building stock compares to that of other cities across the country and world.
By including the questionnaire in Article 80 filings, the BPDA will not require that developers pursue Wired Certification. If developers determine that they would like to pursue Wired Certification for their building, the developer will enter into a relationship with WiredScore that is separate and apart from the City's integration of the themes of Wired Certification into the broadband questions posed in the Article 80 Design Review process. At this time, the questions will not be used as a regulatory tool.
The City of Boston's Broadband and Digital Equity efforts improve access to affordable and reliable high speed Internet for households and businesses, expand the availability of high speed Internet in public places, and facilitate ease of access to up-to-date digital tools. Enabling a more competitive broadband marketplace is at the cornerstone of the City's work to ensure that households and businesses can choose among a range of high quality, affordable high speed Internet options.
WiredScore is rapidly growing its presence in Boston and has already certified over 20 million square feet of office in the Boston Metro area for landlords including Jumbo Capital, National Development, Jamestown, Beacon Capital, TH Realty (FKA TIAA) and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
"As we expand our portfolio into downtown Boston, we've seen significant value in ensuring that our properties are technologically equipped to serve the companies of tomorrow," said Jay O. Hirsh, Managing Partner of Jumbo Capital Management LLC. "We're pleased that WiredScore and the BPDA have partnered to further advocate for top-notch connectivity throughout the city, which is sure to make Boston an even more attractive destination for businesses for generations to come. We are proud to announce that we are pursuing Wired Certification for nine office properties in the Greater Boston Area."
Wired Certification is available for existing commercial buildings, new constructions, and redevelopments. The newly released Wired Certification Guidelines for Commercial Developments and Redevelopments is a free telecom design resource available to developers, architects and engineers. The Wired Certification standards were developed in collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and an Advisory Committee consisting of leaders from tech, telecom and real estate including Google Fiber, Cisco, eBay, Time Warner Cable, Rudin Management, and WSP / Parson Brinkerhoff. and the Telecommunications Industry Association.