The Federal Communications Commission is asking for information on how it can help boost broadband deployments in multi-tenant apartment, mall, business, and other buildings.
In a Notice of Inquiry issued Thursday, the FCC indicates it is seeking input on the current state of broadband competition in multiple tenant environments (MTEs), whether state and local regulations exist that are hindering broadband deployments to these locations, and whether the Commission should take action regarding service providers’ exclusive marketing and bulk billing arrangements within MTEs. Additionally, the Commission wants to know how revenue sharing agreements and exclusive wiring arrangements between MTE owners and internet service providers may affect broadband competition within MTEs.
The three-member body was unanimous in its approval of the measure.
“People who live or work in MTEs want and need high-speed internet access. But we’ve heard that there are sometimes barriers that discourage or even prevent broadband providers from serving them,” Chariman Ajit Pai notes in a statement. “We hope to collect the facts that can inform our judgment … I hope that this Notice presages a healthy discussion. For whether Americans live in a deluxe apartment in the sky, 129 West 81st Street, a Chicago housing project, or a stylish courtyard apartment complex in West Hollywood, they deserve digital opportunity.”
In a separate statement, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn points out this isn’t the first time the Commission has tackled this issue. But rules the FCC passed banning exclusive agreements in MTEs are being circumvented.
“This NOI represents an important first step, to ensure that barriers to competition are torn down,” Clyburn says. “Many MTE occupants are unaware of the deals between their building owners and these companies, but it is important for consumers and potential competitors to have the power to compete and choose the provider that would serve them best.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations