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FCC launches proceeding on video competition in multiple dwelling units

The FCC has asked for comments on exclusive contracts granted to multichannel video programming companies to provision video services to multiple dwelling units (MDU), such as apartment and condominium complexes.

The commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on MDU video service contracts during its monthly public meeting March 22.

The move is in line with the commission's goal of fostering greater competition in the market for multichannel video programming delivery.

The notice seeks comment on:

  1. the current environment for those wanting access to MDUs or other real-estate developments, including the use of exclusive contracts;
  2. the impact of exclusive contracts on consumer choice and video competition;
  3. the commission's conclusion that it has the authority to regulate exclusive contracts for the provision of video services to MDUs where it finds they may impede competition;
  4. what specific steps the commission should take to ensure that exclusive contracts do not unreasonably impede competitive video entry.

Reacting to the notice, Susanne Guyer, Verizon senior vice president for federal regulatory affairs, said apartment and condo dwellers should be able to choose which cable provider they wish to use.

"Exclusive access deals between building owners or developers and cable companies deny consumers choice and keep cable rates high by blocking competition," she said.

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