FCC Unveils Plan to Boost Broadband Choice and Lower Costs for Multi-Tenant Buildings

In a bid to address the lack of choice and high costs faced by residents of apartments, condos, public housing, and other multi-tenant buildings, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has unveiled a new plan. The proposal aims to eliminate restrictive “bulk billing” arrangements, which often leave tenants with limited options for broadband services.
gigabit broadbandChairwoman Rosenworcel emphasized the importance of consumer choice, stating, “Everyone deserves to have a choice of broadband provider.” She criticized the practice of buildings or apartment complexes dictating service providers to tenants, leading to unwanted costs and restricted choices.

Under the proposed plan, tenants would no longer be compelled to pay for broadband, cable, or satellite services from a specific provider chosen by their building management. Instead, they would have the option to opt out of such arrangements, thereby fostering competition and empowering consumers to select the plan and provider that best suits their needs.

The proposal also seeks to enhance competition in multi-tenant environments by making it more economically viable for alternative providers to offer services in buildings where it was previously unfeasible due to restrictive arrangements.

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, to be discussed with FCC colleagues, outlines measures to ban bulk billing arrangements and solicit feedback on additional practices that may limit consumer choice in multi-unit buildings.

These proposed rules align with the FCC’s broader efforts to prioritize consumer interests, including recent initiatives to combat hidden fees and improve transparency in billing for cable and satellite TV services.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s announcement builds upon previous regulations implemented in 2022, which aimed to increase competition and transparency in multi-tenant environments. These rules prohibited certain revenue-sharing agreements between broadband providers and building owners, mandated clear disclosure of exclusive marketing arrangements, and clarified regulations regarding cable inside wiring to prevent anti-competitive practices.

If approved by the full Commission, the new proposal is expected to provide relief to millions of Americans residing in multi-tenant buildings, offering them greater choice and affordability in accessing essential communication services.