|FCC To Vote To End Exclusive Cable-Condo Building Deals|
Article Courtesy of CNN Money
Published October 24, 2007
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote to end exclusive deals between cable companies and apartment buildings to provide video service to tenants in those buildings.
Martin often speaks about the escalating rates of cable service at a time when other telecommunications services are charging consumers less.
If Martin is successful, the new rule would end a long standing practice of cable companies signing agreements with the owners of apartment buildings to be their exclusive video service provider.
The change has been strongly advocated by the likes of
"Why shouldn't people who live in apartments and
condos have the same choices as everyone else. And why should any company be
able to prevent those choices," said
In a recent filing to the FCC on the matter,
Public interest groups like the Consumers Union have also urged the FCC to implement the reform.
In a letter sent to Martin Tuesday,
Murray argued that ending the exclusive agreements would benefit minority groups the most.
"The Commission must ensure that no segment of the population is denied the benefits of video competition," said Murray.
Cable companies like
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, cable's lobby group, said it doesn't oppose the reform, but doesn't think it should be applied to existing contracts.
The proposed regulation is strongly opposed by the National Multi Housing Council, a group representing apartment building owners and landlords.
"If an owner of an apartment building is able to write an exclusive contract with a cable provider, that gives them leverage amongst providers to get the best deal possible for their tenants," said Jim Arbury, senior vice president for government affairs at the Council.
Arbury said that many apartment buildings have these type of agreements with a cable company. Only about 5% of buildings have older style contracts which grant a cable company exclusive rights to a building on a long-term basis.
Most contracts these days, he said, last around seven to eight years.