FCC to limit ISP monopolies on apartments

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The Federal Communications Commission has announced rules that will give tenants in apartment buildings and office complexes more transparency, competition, and choice in broadband service options.

In a press release published Tuesday, the FCC announced that the new rules would prohibit certain internet service providers (ISPs) from entering into revenue-sharing agreements designed to keep competitors out of buildings. Providers must also inform tenants in simple, easy-to-understand language, the existing exclusive arrangements "that is readily accessible."

"One third of this country live in multi-tenant buildings where there often is only one choice for a broadband provider, and no ability to shop for a better deal," said Chairwoman Rosenworcel in the FCC's statement. "The rules we adopt today will crack down on practices that prevent competition and effectively block a consumer's ability to get lower prices or higher quality services."

Finally, the FCC clarified the rule on the installed wiring inside buildings that supply the internet bandwidth. They cannot be part of sale-and-leaseback arrangements that would block access to incoming competitors' wiring.

This is just the latest of a series of pro-net neutrality policies by FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. In January, Rosenworcel was appointed acting chair of the Commission, vowing to enact net neutrality.

Rosenworcel was first nominated to a Commissioner role within the FCC in 2011. She voted in favor of reclassification of the Internet as a Title II utility back in 2015. She also voted against the Restoring Internet Freedom initiative that rolled back protections to support net neutrality under Ajit Pai's tenure as FCC Chair in 2017.