FCC boosts broadband competition by, er, banning broadband competition in buildings

www.theregister.co.uk | 7/11/2019 | Staff
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Analysis America's communications watchdog, the FCC, has come good on its promise to boost broadband adoption through competition by… blocking a law that ensures broadband competition.

This week, the federal regulator's triumvirate of Republican commissioners, led by the chairman Ajit Pai, actively voted down a city ordinance specifically designed to make sure that people living in apartment blocks have access to a range of ISPs.

Measure - News - Release - FCC - Action

And then, for good measure, they put out a news release titled: "FCC takes action to promote broadband deployment and competition in apartment and office buildings." George Orwell would be proud.

The ordinance in question - Article 52 of San Francisco's city rules – prevents property owners from denying ISPs access to existing wiring within "multiple occupancy buildings" i.e. apartment blocks, and was passed unanimously in December 2016.

Cities - Proportion - San - Francisco - Residents

Like most heavily built-up cities, a significant proportion of San Francisco residents live in apartment buildings. As part of their nationwide policy of creating local monopolies, cable companies have often struck exclusive deals with building owners to supply only their internet services, resulting in lower competition and higher prices.

And so the City of San Francisco stepped in and approved the measure to force greater competition by obliging owners to provide access to the wiring in their buildings to any ISP that wants to offer their services.

Approach - San - Francisco - Mayor - London

This approach has proved successful, according to San Francisco mayor London Breed. "San Francisco adopted Article 52 because it is uneconomic and, in the case of many older buildings, impossible, for multiple carriers to install their own wiring to reach each occupant," she wrote in a letter to Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi after hearing that the FCC intended to target the law after a blog post by FCC chair Ajit Pai.

"Rather than fostering competition, the proposed order would strip occupants of many (multi-tenant environments)...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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