The FCC banned apartment buildings from signing exclusive deals with phone operators, allowing tenants to exercise consumer choice. [NYT]

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  1. shortergirl06 says:

    So… what about television providers? Our land lord has a “deal” with a small, sorta crappy, satellite provider in the area. The service sucks, and Dish won’t deal directly with us. We asked about cable or DirecTV, but our landlord says that we can only use Stingray.

  2. abkad says:

    There is one potential negative to this ruling, as I understand it.

    Exclusive deals signed by building owners can be good for tenants in some cases. If a smart building owner uses the leverage available in signing an exclusive deal, they can reduce the total cost of service for all the tenants, which also creates an attractive package for prospective tenants. Obviously, the problem is that exclusive deals are often signed to give some benefit primarily to the owner at the cost of the tenant.

    I wonder if there is some middle ground under this ruling. Ideally, the tenants could collectively choose one provider, but in much of the country, housing unions don’t really hold together.

    Another issue… Does the ruling allow a building owner to pay the cost of phone service, raise the rent, call phone service free, and allow the owner as customer the ability to then continue signing exclusive deals? If so, this would seem to render the ruling moot.

  3. guroth says:

    There are areas that have a choice of more than 1 telco?

  4. Carencey says:

    What exactly do the building owners generally get out of these arrangements? I assume there is some sort of kickback since they are objecting to the FCC rulings.

  5. Dan25 says:

    My apt building just signed an exclusive contract with DirectTV. My cable and internet bill went from $90 to $160 AND they made me sign a 2 year contract. Please tell me this is not legal.

  6. shepd says:

    In the US you *are* allowed, anywhere, including in an apartment, to install a dish up to 1 meter in size. Period. This law supersedes all others on the matter, and definitely nullifies any contracts you signed to the contrary.

    Now, if you’re on the North side of the building, or near the ground floor in a dense city… well… pick your apartment a bit more carefully next time! ;-)

    And at least you guys have that law. Up in the Great White North we have no such law and so you often end up with just once choice in many apartment buildings, and satellite dishes tend to be banned in new subdivisions, after the incumbent cableco pays the developers a special fee for adding the clause to the purchase contract.