FCC Moves to Boost Cable Competition in Apartment Buildings

FCC Proposes to Boost Cable Competition in Apartment Buildings

Cable operators would face more competition for the roughly one-third of Americans living in apartment buildings under an order advanced Friday at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel asked fellow commissioners to approve a measure that she said would “crack down on practices that lock out broadband competition and consumer choice.”

The order would prohibit cable service providers from entering into certain revenue sharing agreements with a building owner, and seek to ease alternative providers’ access to the wiring of buildings, Rosenworcel said in a news release.

The order would affect more than one-third of the U.S. population who live in apartments, mobile home parks, condominiums and public housing, Rosenworcel said.

The order needs to succeed in a vote before the FCC, which is split with two Democrats and two Republicans as a Democrat nominated by President Joe Biden awaits Senate confirmation.

Cable providers have argued against restricting exclusive wiring, exclusive marketing, and revenue sharing agreements. “Prohibitions and restrictions may inhibit investment and deployment in buildings,” NCTA - The Internet & Television Association, a cable trade group, said in a 2019 filing. Its members include Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc.

Comcast, Charter and NCTA didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

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