Comcast Calls FCC Decision To Ban Apartment Cable Deals "A Blow" To Consumers

The FCC approved a rule banning apartment building cable deals today, and Comcast is all mad about it.

Sena Fitzmaurice, Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Government Relations for Comcast said:

“Consumers in apartment buildings and condos across the nation received a blow today from the action taken by the FCC. The result of this decision is likely to be higher prices for services and years of litigation and uncertainty for consumers. The significant concessions building owners have been able to bargain for on behalf of their residents will be lost.”

We’ll translate this for you. What Sena really means is: “Holy Mother of God, everyone is going to switch to FiOS.”

Comcast statement about FCC’s actions regarding contracts with multiple dwelling units [Reuters]
(Photo:SpidraWebster)

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  1. gamblekat says:

    What he actually meant to say is “The significant concessions building owners have been able to bargain for on behalf of themselves will be lost”. So sad.

  2. Manok says:

    let there be competition!

  3. afterimageB says:

    God forbid that apartment dwellers have a choice to choose their provider!

  4. Comcast is funny like that…

  5. AndyMan1 says:

    First step, Apartments.

    Hopefully the next step will be cities. Please let the next step be cities?

  6. Ben Popken says:

    Comcast, FCC, consumers, building owners. Only one of these is a significant blow. Hint: it starts with a C and doesn’t end in S.

  7. SOhp101 says:

    Aw, looks like Sena will have to put off buying that summer home in Malibu. *tear*

  8. AndyMan1 says:

    The result of this decision is likely to be higher prices for services
    Assuming competition is available on a larger scale, I would think that other businesses competing would offer lower prices to attract customers. You will, in turn, have to lower your prices to compete with them. So how will prices be higher?

    and years of litigation
    Yes, I’m sure consumers will need to by extra boxes of kleenex for all the tears they shed over you trying to deny their right of choice.

    and uncertainty for consumers.
    Well I’ll concede this to you. “Hmm, should I get raped by Comcast or spied on by AT&T? Decisions, decisions.”

  9. ninjatales says:

    If Comcast wants to provide lower prices, they can still talk to landlords and offer lower prices to consumers. They just dont have to force consumers to pick COMCAST as the only provider.

    See. An amicable solution for Comcast. Offer lower prices. Duh!

  10. Alvis says:

    Alot of people are getting past cable/satellite/FIOS, and for good reason.

    Many of us can get broadcast HDTV for free. For most people, 50-75% of the shows we regularly watch are available in crystal-clear, greater-that-DVD-quality, for FREE for the first time ever. Take the few hours and another couple hundred dollars to set up a MythTV box, and you’ve got free HD PVR from then on.

    For a little variety, a good portion of the US is in the footprint of numerous free-to-air satellites that can be tuned to with a <$200 box and <$100 dish, with no recurring fees.

    After the <$1000 investment in an HDTV and FTA satellite system, consider a Netflix-type account to catch up on old shows, movies (now that DVD releases are within a month or two of PPV and usually within eight months of the theater release), and box sets of cable shows that can’t be watched for free.

    For less than $30/month, you can get a crapload of entertainment. Is it worth paying over twice that and having to deal with these kind of companies for a few more channels?

  11. mantari says:

    More from the “we’re working against you in order to serve you better” school of business.

  12. ghettoimp says:

    Alvis has it dead on — the Broadcast HDTV + MythTV + Netflix combination is really powerful and cheap.

    At the moment we’re in an apartment where the only choice for cable is Time Warner. We tried their cable package for a day and were sorely disappointed at everything being SD and having to deal with this stupid set-top box. Our MythTV downloads more shows off the air than we care to watch in wonderful digital quality, skips commercials, timestretches, and makes us breakfast. And it only costs $20 per year (for listings) plus power — of course, there was also a fairly significant initial investment in hardware and time. The HDHomeRun ($130ish) is sweet, and a good antenna is a must.

    Netflix is the perfect supplement to the broadcast channels. We turn our Netflix membership up in the summer when they’re playing reruns, and down when the new shows come out and we don’t want to watch any extra shows. You can even have them send you HBO shows and stuff.

    I’m really looking forward to getting a house so I have choices for an internet provider other than TWC (expensive) and AT&T (evil). And btw — VOIP ftw, imo.

  13. ogman says:

    Cool! Comcast sucks and their soon-to-be-former customers will be better served.

  14. faust1200 says:

    She meant to say “The ability of Comcast to bribe apartment owners so that tenants may only use Comcast for cable will be lost.”

  15. bdgbill says:

    Anything bad for Comcast is good for consumers.

  16. tokenblackgirl says:

    Same here, i just diconnected my cable after realizing that i pay 50 dollar to watch The Hills rerun and the same Law & Order everytime.

    when i catch up on tv show i’ve missed online but i’ve never heard of the Myth TV, how does it work? I would love to do anything but sign back up for cable.

  17. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    The @tokenblackgirl:

    It’s just a Linux based software DVR. Kinda a roll your own type deal. Pretty nifty if you know what you’re doing.

  18. ThatJoshGuy says:

    Actually, this decision is a little less obvious than it looks. It’s really a gift for the death star telco’s. They have the same exclusive deals with landlords, and are allowed to keep them. They’re just allowed now to offer video services using the leverage of the exclusive contract while not facing any telco competition from comcast et al.

    Kevin Martin (FCC Chair) agreed to ‘look at telecommunication providers’ in this context in the next six months to get the deal done. Until then, it’s just an unqualified win for them. So, as much as I love seeing Comcast, TWC and their ilk skewered, I hate the fact that it’s our government doing it at AT&T’s beck and call, without any sort of equality.

    On the plus side, they lost one yesterday on number portability, where they’re not allowed to drag their feet porting their customer’s numbers to VoIP services.

    Also, the cable companies were mollified with a ridiculous ruling yesterday on franchising rules where the FCC ridiculously overstepped its mandate to try to give the ‘biggies’ a better chance of renewing local franchising agreements.

    Bad sausage was made at the FCC yesterday. Even this one stinks just a little too much for my taste.

  19. JessiesMind says:

    My husband and I own a condo that we can’t seem to sell (thankfully we have a terrific renter at the moment). This past summer, the condo association talked about going in on a deal with Dish Network to install satellite dishes on the roof tops. At the time, satellite wasn’t allowed because a satellite didn’t fit in the “uniform standards” of the community rules. Condo owners’ association fees would naturally have an assessment added to them to cover the costs of this deal, irregardless of if we chose to subscribe with Dish Network or not. Ummmm, NO. I’m not paying for a service that I don’t use just so a few owners who want Dish can get a “cheaper” installation fee. Luckily, it was voted down. Our renter has his cable and, much to the kids’ annoyance, my husband and I are still on rabbit ears. LOL

  20. CurbRunner says:

    Just suck it up Comcast.
    Get rid of a few exec limos, hookers and other perks. Somehow you’ll survive.

  21. Wdeal says:

    @JessiesMind: You might double check the info about satellites being disallowed by HOA and community rules. I am almost certain that a few years ago, the FCC disallowed community and homeowner association restrictions on satellite dish installations.

    Essentially, the associations could not prevent you from installing a dish on your property.

    see
    [www.fcc.gov]

  22. realjen01 says:

    @JessiesMind: irregardless isn’t a word….it’s just regardless. that’s so annoying.

  23. pete7919 says:

    I work for a company which owns a large apartment building. This deal has the potential to raise the rates for my tenants. But maybe not? When I built my building, I negotiated a bulk service agreement with Comcast. This was a win-win. I got all my wires installed for free, and my residents get cable for $9 per month. No, they don’t have a choice, but it’s $9 per month! If the bulk service goes away they have the option of Comcast at the regular rate $50-60 or Verizon at their regular rate! How is that not an example of rates going up?

    I did speak with my rep this morning, and he said that the ruling does not affect my agreement. If a resident wants another service, they can have it. The problem is that the competing company would have to install all their own facilities. Easy when a building is under construction, but now not so much! It’s very unlikely that verizon will install their equipment after the fact for only a few residents.

  24. the_oaktree says:

    well verizon was doing the same thing around here for dsl. don’t really see the big deal though. Most condo associations and building management will still forbid stuff like satelites and fios installations.

  25. majortom1981 says:

    I have a question how is this legal. Doesnt the person who owns the building have the right to allow or not allow any service to run wires and stuff in his building?

    So basically the building owner if he has comcast can just not allow verizon to install anything in the building right?

  26. …I don’t understand this. I pay for my own cable, and I live in an apartment building. What is all this then, please?

  27. Saboth says:

    Comcast1:”Hmm since this ruling, people are switching over to other services since they aren’t locked into something they don’t want.”
    Comcast2:”How do we fight people wanting to switch over to competitors? Lowering our costs? Offering more channels that customers want?”
    Comcast1:”hahaha…hohohoho…hahaha../wipes tears away. No silly! Lawsuits to keep our monopolies!”

  28. MrEvil says:

    @Wdeal: In fact you’re right. The FCC states that a landlord or housing association cannot deny you the right to have an antenna for the purposes of sending or receiving radio frequency broadcasts. In the case of rented property the landlord can prevent you from an install that would damage or alter the building. In the case of owned property, anything goes. If you want a 50′ antenna mast on your property you can have one, and there isn’t shit your neighbors or your city can do about it. If you can somehow find a way to install a 50′ mast on your rented property without permanently altering the structure your landlord can’t say shit either.