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The FCC is considering a Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling that Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said is designed to promote competition and increase broadband choice for people living and working in multi-tenant environments (MTEs).

The proposal, if adopted, would:

  • Prohibit providers from entering into graduated revenue sharing agreements or exclusive revenue sharing agreements with a building owner;
  • Require providers to disclose to tenants in plain language the existence of exclusive marketing arrangements that they have with building owners;
  • End a practice that circumvents the FCC’s cable inside wiring rules by clarifying that existing Commission rules prohibit sale-and-leaseback arrangements that effectively block access to alternative providers.

“With more than one-third of the U.S. population living in apartments, mobile home parks, condominiums, and public housing, it’s time to crack down on practices that lock out broadband competition and consumer choice,” Rosenworcel said in a prepared statement. “Consumers deserve access to a choice of providers in their buildings. I look forward to having my colleagues join me in lifting the obstacles to competitive choice for broadband for the millions of tenants across the nation.”

In September, the FCC invited comment on competitive access to broadband in apartment and office buildings. According to today’s press release, those comments revealed “a pattern of new practices that inhibit competition, contrary to the commission’s goals, and limit opportunities for competitive providers to offer service for apartment, condo and office building tenants.”

It’s not clear how the FCC multi-tenant environments proposal would impact building owners’ ability to bundle broadband with rent — an option in which recent Parks Associates research found considerable interest.

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