Late last week, NMHC led a coalition of multifamily stakeholders in filing comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The comments pushed back at continued rhetoric from Incompas and some small internet providers who are seeking to upend how broadband service is delivered to multi-tenant environments and the agreements that typically guide partnerships between multifamily owners and operators and telecom providers. NMHC has led a number of recent coalition efforts to respond to several active proceedings at the FCC that calls into question existing rules of the road that guide broadband investment and infrastructure deployment at multifamily and commercial properties.
The industry’s filing emphasizes the success of the current provider partnership model to deploying broadband, increasing overall connectivity and promoting competition and choice for residents. It also highlights the strength of multifamily broadband networks throughout the pandemic and the work that remains to truly address the digital divide across the country.
Incompas, a trade group that bills itself as the “internet and competitive networks association” has filed against real estate owners repeatedly over the past several years arguing that the use of access agreements, marketing agreements and infrastructure cost-share arrangements are anti-competitive and boxes out their members from serving multifamily residents and commercial tenants. However, NMHC and members of our real estate coalition have continually taken issue with these assertions. And in fact, have continually used data to show that these agreements, partnerships and facilities-based competition have led to high levels of service, choice and innovation in the multifamily broadband space.
The reality is that there are some broadband providers that are looking to gain access to the high end of the multifamily and commercial real estate market without having to work in traditional partnership with property owners to deploy their services. The current model emphasizes the importance of negotiating agreements between property owners and service providers to foster market competition, higher service standards, competitive pricing and superior broadband service for residents and tenants in all markets and at all property types, including rural, low-income and senior housing.
NMHC and our coalition partners have urged the FCC to reject attempts by broadband providers that are attempting to skirt the current, effective partnership model. Instead, the industry supports the current regulatory model and asserts that the FCC must respect property rights. NMHC will continue to make our case against further interference or regulation in the multifamily broadband market. For more information on NMHC’s work on broadband and connectivity issues, click here.
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