The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules that would prevent your landlord from forcing a particular ISP on you. If you live in an apartment and are forced to use a specific ISP, this could be great news for you.
The FCC unanimously approved the new rule. It will prevent broadband providers like Comcast, AT&T, or Verizon from entering into revenue-sharing agreements with landlords, preventing tenants from choosing between all ISPs in their area.
Not only that, but if there are any marketing arrangements in place between a specific ISP and a landlord, they need to be disclosed. Additionally, a provider can no longer sell its wiring to a landlord and exclusively leases it back under the new rules.
Interestingly, the FCC actually banned these practices in 2008, but several loopholes allowed landlords and ISPs to make exclusive deals anyway.
“One-third of this country live in multi-tenant buildings where there often is only one choice for a broadband provider, and no ability to shop for a better deal,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “The rules we adopt today will crack down on practices that prevent competition and effectively block a consumer’s ability to get lower prices or higher quality services.”
Of course, tenants are still limited by the ISPs actually available where they live. So this doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be able to get Google Fiber if you don’t live in an area supported by Google.
We’ll have to wait and see if any other loopholes emerge that allow landlords and ISPs to make any other kinds of shady deals, but on the surface, this looks like a remarkable change that only benefits apartment tenants.