Wednesday, July 10, 2019

FCC issues rules for broadband access in apartments

The FCC adopted the following items with the intent of promoting facilities-based broadband deployment and greater consumer choice for Americans living in apartment buildings:

  • First, in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC seeks public input on additional actions it could take to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks and services within MTEs.  In particular, the NPRM seeks comment on the impact that revenue sharing agreements between building owners and broadband providers, exclusivity agreements regarding rooftop facilities, and exclusive wiring arrangements have on broadband competition and deployment
  • Second, in a Declaratory Ruling, the Commission clarifies that it welcomes state and local experimentation to increase access to MTEs—so long as those actions are consistent with federal law and policy.
  • Third, in the same Declaratory Ruling, the Commission preempts part of an outlier San Francisco ordinance to the extent it requires the sharing of in-use wiring in MTEs.  Required sharing of in-use wiring deters broadband deployment, undercuts the Commission’s rules regarding control of cable wiring in residential MTEs, and threatens the Commission’s framework to protect the technical integrity of cable systems for the benefit of viewers. 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following comment with regard to the San Francisco ordinance: "Unsurprisingly, some oppose our decision to preempt today.  I would say that they are making a mountain out of a molehill, but in reality, there isn’t even a molehill here.  Throughout this proceeding, the City of San Francisco has failed to mount any defense whatsoever of requiring the sharing of in-use wiring.  Yet before I circulated this draft Declaratory Ruling to my colleagues three weeks ago, the city also refused to say that its ordinance didn’t mandate the sharing of in-use wiring.  Indeed, it was only last week that the city finally stopped playing games with this Schrödinger’s cat of an ordinance and belatedly claimed that its ordinance “does not require sharing of ‘in-use’ wiring.”

See also