FCC Proposes Ban on Exclusive Broadband Deals in Apartments

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to ban exclusive apartment broadband deals which force tenants to use only one provider
The FCC proposes a ban on exclusive broadband apartment deals to give consumers and opportunity to choose a broadband provider.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a plan to ban exclusive broadband deals in apartments and eliminate arrangements imposed on tenants that force them to stick to a specific broadband service provider, according to a release.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said tenants in apartments, condos, public housing and other multi-tenant buildings are too often “forced to pay high prices with limited choices for internet or other services.”

The proposal would seek to eliminate “bulk-billing” arrangements imposed on tenants that impose a specific broadband service provider for their household.

Proposal To Ban Exclusive Apartment Broadband Deals

Specifically, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would propose banning bulk-billing arrangements by which tenants are required to pay for broadband, cable, and satellite service provided by a specific communications provider, even if they do not wish to take the service or would prefer to use another provider.

It proposes allowing tenants to opt out of bulk-billing arrangements.  The proposal would also increase competition for communications service in these buildings by making it more profitable for competitive providers to deploy service in buildings where it is currently too expensive to serve consumers because tenants are required to take a certain provider’s service.

The FCC would also seek comment on other practices that may limit consumer choice in multi-unit buildings.

“Everyone deserves to have a choice of broadband provider,” Rosenworcel said in the release. “That is why it is not right when your building or apartment complex chooses that service for you, saddling you with unwanted costs, and preventing you from signing up for the plan and provider you really want.  This proposal shuts down these practices.  It boosts competition and consumer choice and builds on our ongoing efforts to improve broadband transparency.”

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