Press Release

Public Knowledge Calls for Closing Loopholes in Exclusive Agreements Between Multi-Tenant Environments and Internet Providers

October 21, 2021

Yesterday, Public Knowledge and Consumer Reports filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent Public Notice entitled “Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks to Refresh Record on Improving Competitive Broadband Access to Multiple Tenant Environments.” Public Knowledge supports closing the loopholes left open after the FCC’s 2008 ban of exclusive agreements between internet service providers and landlords that harmed competition and restricted tenants’ choice of broadband providers.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Although the FCC has banned explicit exclusive agreements in multi-tenant environments (MTEs) such as apartment, condos, and office buildings, landlords and internet service providers have exploited loopholes to nevertheless create de facto monopolies in buildings. The resulting lack of competition increases prices and restricts the choices available to residential and business tenants alike.

“As the filing explains, we urge the Commission to move forward with rules that will increase consumer choice in multi-tenant environments. These rules should include banning all types of agreements between internet service providers and landlords that negatively impact consumer choice, ensuring all ISPs having access to a building’s wiring regardless of the owner, creating a ‘rocket docket’ to quickly adjudicate supposed violations, and creating a single regulatory regime for both commercial and residential MTEs. After refreshing the record, the Commission should quickly move to issuing rulings that increase competition and consumer choice of internet service providers.”

You may view our comments here. You may also view our blog post “Your Landlord Might Be Making Deals With Broadband Providers. We Want Them to Stop.” for further information.