The Federal Communications Commission is investigating if apartment and office tenants are paying too much for broadband.
With a large portion of the US population living in Multiple Tenant Environment (MTE) buildings, there’s an increased risk of diminished competition. In many cases, MTE owners work out a profit-sharing agreement with a service provider, potentially limiting the choice for any of the building’s tenants. Similarly, some MTE owners have exclusive wiring arrangements, or exclusive marketing arrangements.
These factors may lead to tenants paying more, or having subpar service, compared to what is generally available in their market.
“Across the country throughout the pandemic, the need for more and better broadband access has never been clearer,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “With more than one-third of the U.S. population living in condos and apartment buildings, it’s time to take a fresh look at how exclusive agreements between carriers and building owners could lock out broadband competition and consumer choice. I look forward to reviewing the record.”
The FCC “is inviting a new round of comments in a proceeding” to better understand the scope of the problem, and what measures may need to be taken.