US FCC Asked To Control Broadband Monopolies In Apartments

The OTI urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action to improve broadband competition in multi-tenant environments (MTEs) such as apartment buildings.

In comments submitted to the agency, OTI outlined how internet providers broker kickbacks and other deals with property owners that block competitors from accessing the building. These anti-competitive agreements create de facto monopolies for the building’s tenants. OTI has long criticized these deals as a contributor to the United States’ high broadband prices and lack of competition.

The FCC tried to prohibit these deals in a 2008 rulemaking, but internet providers have since found ways to circumvent those efforts. In July, President Biden issued an executive order that called on the FCC to ban these sweetheart deals and close loopholes.

Joshua Stager, deputy director of broadband and competition policy at New America’s Open Technology Institute said “For too long, monopoly-minded internet providers have colluded with property owners to restrict choice and raise broadband prices in apartment buildings. These sweetheart deals are one of the reasons the broadband market is so anticompetitive, particularly in urban areas. We need regulations that end these schemes. Home internet is an essential service, so the FCC should ensure tenants are getting the choice, affordability, and freedom they deserve.”

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