Public Knowledge Applauds FCC Action To Help Consumers Choose Own Broadband Provider in Apartments and Offices

The FCC acts to promote broadband competition and increase service choice for people living or working in multiple tenant environments like apartments.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling that would promote broadband competition and increase service choice for people living or working in multiple tenant environments. These measures would help consumers living in apartments or working in office buildings to choose their own broadband provider instead of being locked into the building’s choice.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Although the FCC has rules prohibiting exclusive agreements between landlords and broadband providers, these entities have nevertheless exploited loopholes to limit consumer choice. With almost one-third of the country living in multiple tenant environments, this lack of choice forces people across the nation to pay more for a plan that may not meet their needs. 

“Public Knowledge congratulates Chair Rosenworcel and Commissioners Carr, Simington, and Starks for working together to support competition and choice for all consumers. This 4-0 vote demonstrates consensus towards promoting consumer choices for broadband for everyone, not just single family homes or a large business location. This FCC action curtails the worst of these loopholes – including graduated revenue sharing agreements (which encourage landlords to limit which broadband providers can serve a building in order to maximize their own profit) and sale-leaseback agreements (which exist solely to evade current rules).

“We welcome this action as a step toward advancing consumer choice no matter where someone lives or works. However, with landlords and broadband providers constantly creating new loopholes, consumers in multi-tenant environments won’t have full choice until the Commission takes action to ban all arrangements that limit consumer choice in multi-tenant environments. Additionally, the Commission’s efforts to promote broadband competition more broadly will ultimately require the direct authority found in Title II of the Communications Act. We look forward to working with a full Commission to advance these goals.”

You may view our blog post, “Your Landlord Might Be Making Deals With Broadband Providers. We Want Them to Stop,” for more information on multiple tenant building deals and how they impact consumers. You may also view our multi-tenant comments filed with the FCC last year.