FCC Spurs Broadband Access in Apartments, Condos, and Office Buildings

The Federal Communications Commission is taking steps to improve broadband deployment and competition in the nation’s apartment buildings, condominium complexes, and office buildings, known as multiple tenant environments (MTEs). For decades, Congress and the FCC have encouraged facilities-based competition by broadly promoting access to customers and infrastructure— including MTEs and their tenants—while avoiding overly burdensome sharing mandates that reduce incentives to invest. Consistent with these principles, the FCC today takes three specific steps to promote facilities-based broadband deployment and greater consumer choice for Americans living in MTEs:

  1. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC seeks public input on additional actions it could take to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks and services within MTEs. In particular, the NPRM seeks comment on the impact that revenue sharing agreements between building owners and broadband providers, exclusivity agreements regarding rooftop facilities, and exclusive wiring arrangements have on broadband competition and deployment.
  2. In a Declaratory Ruling, the FCC clarifies that it welcomes state and local experimentation to increase access to MTEs—so long as those actions are consistent with federal law and policy.
  3. In the same Declaratory Ruling, the FCC preempts part of an outlier San Francisco ordinance to the extent it requires the sharing of in-use wiring in MTEs. Required sharing of in-use wiring deters broadband deployment, undercuts the FCC’s rules regarding control of cable wiring in residential MTEs, and threatens the FCC’s framework to protect the technical integrity of cable systems for the benefit of viewers.

FCC Spurs Broadband Access in Apartments, Condos, & Office Buildings FCC blocks San Francisco law pushing broadband competition for apartments (The Hill) FCC Preempts San Francisco Inside Wiring Ordinance (B&C)