F.C.C. To Strike Down Sole Provider Cable Deals for Apartments

The FCC is slated Wednesday to nullify and bar exclusive agreements between cable companies and apartment buildings. Currently, in cases where such arrangements exist, consumers can only choose the cable provider their landlord inked the deal with. The FCC hopes is to increase competition and lead to lower prices for consumers. Verizon and AT&T, which have started offering their own video services, lobbied heavily for the action.

F.C.C. Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments [NYT] (Thanks to Brandon!)


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  1. Streyeder says:

    THANK GOD! Maybe I can convince my complex to allow more than DirecPath’s 1MBPS internet now. What sucks worse is that they won’t unbundle the cable so I can’t save any $$ on not having cable.

    Oh, I tried DSL too. ONLY Verizon offers it to our complex and they REFUSE naked service saying it’s a “hardware issue” that prevents it. I’m not paying for a phone I won’t use.

  2. faust1200 says:

    That’s awesome. I could never figure out how this was legal to begin with.

  3. IrisMR says:

    Wow. I guess the FCC DOES do some good things now and then. They rarely do, but here’s one!

  4. AD8BC says:

    What about cases where the apartment complexes pull the signals from the satellites and modulate their own local cable system?

  5. etinterrapax says:

    Your headline sort of implies that such deals are coming in, rather than going out.

  6. I’m glad, but will this cover sole-provider telecom arrangements in concert with ATT, who bought DirecTV’s apartment complex business?

    When we were living in this place, their exclusive deal with ATT meant that we had to pay $85.00/mo. for DirecTV satellite service you couldn’t use a DVR with (at least not without an expensive converter), spotty phone service, and craptastic 256k DSL that went down more often than a cheap lady o’ the night.

    Of course the only alternative was Comcast, who we had good experience with from another apartment – but unlike the folks in the section 8 housing 50 ft. away, One Pearl Place refused to allow Comcast onto the premises. Even if they had, the building had been constructed with a sole provider in mind, (all the coax went back to a single cabinet per floor, all wired to the main satellite cabinet) so this legislation could prove VERY expensive for them.

  7. JKinNYC says:

    Does this mean FIOS might come to my NYC building?

  8. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    This probably won’t stop my CITY which has a contract with Charter.


  9. BelBivDevolkswagen says:

    Sounds good, except that Comcast is the only cable provider in my area besides satellite, which would be a pain to put in at my apartment building…

  10. rmz says:

    So, Verizon and AT&T support this now, but you can bet that in 5 years when they have a more established foothold in the cable market, they’ll oppose every single motion of this sort.

  11. vladthepaler says:

    I’d love to see this apply to condos as well: I wanted to switch to Dish Network instead of Comcast for my cable television, but Dish wanted the condo board to sign a contract that wouldn’t permit any competition… which (understandably) they weren’t willing to do.

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wait.. I thought there could only be one cable company franchise per given area in a city? How can this law be useful if there’s only one cable operator offering service to your neighborhood anyways?


    Naked DSL is a standard service that Verizon offers. If you already have landline phone service, they make it hard to cancel it and get naked DSL. The best thing to do is cancel your landline. Then order DSL through the Verizon website, using your home address only. Worked for me.

  13. alice_bunnie says:

    I see I’m not the only one to say, “Thank God!”. When we were renting an apartment while our house was being rebuilt after a tornado we ran into something like this and I couldn’t believe this was allowed. Especially when I heard the rental agents got kickbacks for every tenant that signed up. It was horrible.

  14. cashmerewhore says:


    I will have a party when I don’t have to deal with them anymore. I hate not having half the damn football games because they refuse to not pass along the Big Ten Network fee to subscribers. My condo complex said other providers want to drill into the units (TW is internally wired) and they won’t approve that.

    I will never buy another condo.

  15. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Ha! Suck on it, Comcast. While I don’t really have any other options, right now (even if I were free to choose), I’m hopeful that a law like this would make it more profitable for other companies to come into the area. A free market rarely hurts the consumer.

  16. Streyeder says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: I don’t have phone service. I called three times the week after moving to the DC area to ask if I could get naked DSL and on all three attempts I was told yes, and then no after they found my address. I was told on all three occasions that I would HAVE to package phone service due to “hardware issues” in the building.

    I don’t have any Verizon accounts and the cheapest package I could be put into was $60+/mo. (I even tried to get a cell plan instead of landline and they again refused on ground that it was a hardware problem with the complex.) I’m still WTF about this supposed hardware issue. I don’t recall anything discussed in my Telecomm or Networks courses that could substantiate these claims.


  17. mbrutsch says:

    This would be GREAT for me. My apartments use ATT Home Entertainment (AT*T HEll), the ones CaliforniaCajun mentioned. I have a sinking feeling that this action would not affect my situation, since AT&T is pushing for it (my cynical guess is that they would not advocate a law that would break their stranglehold on existing apartments).

  18. toddkravos says:

    I would have rather seen them address the city/townships that are locked to one cable provider.

    While there are several in my state, I can only ‘get service’ through one provider, Cox Communications
    (Lakewood, Ohio)

  19. cryrevolution says:

    Thank you bajeebus.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    I wish this would affect condos as well… There’s Verizon FIOS outside the gate, but none inside the condo grounds b/c the HOA won’t let Verizon dig up their precious weed-infested, half dying thing they call a lawn.

  21. axiomatic says:

    What about neighborhoods? Comcast is the only cable provider allowed in my Houston, TX neighborhood. DSL is allowed but my neighborhood is 10,000+ feet away from the nearest C.O. Mind you, I don’t live in the boon-docks, I live in the heart of North Houston. I know for a fact there is dark municipal fiber and even Verizon (functional) fiber in my area, but the H.O.A. I think is limiting the neighborhood to Comcast.

    Help my Obi-wan-FCC… you’re my only hope!

  22. HeHateMe says:

    Does this apply to satellite companies that have contracts in apartment buildings? This shouldn’t just apply to cable companies. They aren’t the only ones that have agreements with these companies.

  23. JustAGuy2 says:

    It applies to all exclusive contracts, whether with satellite, cable, telco, puppet theater, whatever.

  24. suzyO says:

    @rmz: that’s right, RMZ. say hello to MaBell. she never really left us; she just took a nap. they’re going to continue pushing deals like this as hard as they can before the dems come into office. anybody who thinks the FCC is doing them a favor is dead wrong.

  25. tadowguy says:

    I heard the new rule says it’s okay to have an agreement if the name of the company starts with Co, Ve, or AT.

  26. yg17 says:

    Now if this would only apply to cities as well. Charter is the only cable provider in St. Louis, and they SUCK. I sometimes wonder if Charter was a science experiment to see if chimpanzees can run a cable company that went horribly wrong because the company and almost everyone who works for them is utterly useless. At home, we have no other choice for broadband because AT&T won’t bring DSL out to our neighborhood. No, we don’t live in Bumfuck. We’re in the west St. Louis suburbs. So for broadband, our choice is Charter. (Although honestly, I don’t know if I could give my money to AT&T, at least Charter doesn’t send info about what their customers are doing to the NSA). One of the previous commenters said that his DSL went down like a cheap whore. Charter would make his cheap whore look like a saint. It’s cloudy outside…the cable goes out. It’s hot outside…the cable goes out. It’s cold outside…the cable goes out. A single raindrop fell…the cable goes out. The stars and the moon aren’t perfectly aligned…the cable goes out. A fly farts and generates a very slight wind…the cable goes out. A call center monkey gets bored and wants to annoy a caller…the cable goes out.

    I hope that one day St. Louis will have some competition for Charter. Even if this new provider doesn’t service my neighborhood, at least having significant competition in the area could persuade Charter to get their shit together and provide something that can maybe, just maybe, pass for acceptable cable TV and internet service.