FCC acts to boost video service competition in multiunit dwellings

June 4, 2007

The FCC moved last week to help apartment dwellers get more competitive video service and telephone offerings.

The commissioners eliminated barriers to competitive entry in multiunit buildings where a new entrant video or telephone provider seeks to compete against an incumbent provider. New entrants to the video services and telephony markets should not be prevented from competing for consumers in multiunit buildings based on costly and inefficient industry practices, the FCC said.

The commission ordered that competitive video services providers must not be forced to cut through sheet rock to connect their cable wiring to cable home wiring inside a unit. They also found that wiring behind sheet rock is “physically inaccessible” for the purposes of inside wiring rules, as well as brick, cinder block and similar materials used to construct ceilings and hallways.

Competing telephone companies must have access to the incumbent’s inside wire subloops in multiunit premises at the terminal block in order to install service. The inside wire subloop is typically used by competing telephone companies to connect to individual consumers in multiunit buildings.

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said the order clarified the commission’s rules for inside wiring used to serve multidwelling units because it reduced the barriers of those last 100ft to the home and promoted choice for customers of these buildings, including renters, homeowners and small businesses.

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