The Federal Communications Commission wants to learn whether deals between landlords and internet service providers raise prices for apartment dwellers as part of the Biden administration’s push on increasing competition in the economy.
Why it matters: Despite cities having more competition among broadband providers, those in apartment buildings can be stuck with one provider because of the arrangements.
Driving the news: A senior agency official told Axios the FCC on Tuesday will begin seeking comment on the impact certain practices have on tenants, including:
Revenue sharing agreements in which the landlord takes a percentage of the revenue an internet service provider receives, incentivizing the landlord to steer tenants to that provider.
Exclusive wiring agreements that involve a landlord saying only one internet provider can use a building’s wires to provide service.
Exclusive marketing agreements where only one company can market its services in the building.
Residents in urban areas don’t realize that there are residents and whole communities in rural area that no real competition for broadband provider. And if they do they think somehow only one provider has permission to serve a certain area. I think these deals with landlords are the closest an urban experience gets to understanding rural. They aren’t any federal rules prohibiting other providers from serving an apartment building but the landlord has made deals (and sometimes they are exclusive) that makes it much easier for one provider. The same way the state or federal funding may make it easier for one provider to enter a rural market.
The result is the same – it promotes a lack of competition.