Charter: Apply MDU Ban To All

Washington -- Satellite TV providers and phone companies shouldn't have an exclusive right to serve apartment buildings with video services now that the Federal Communications Commission bans cable operators from retaining or obtaining similar exclusivity, Charter Communications told the FCC Wednesday.

“If the exclusive access agreement makes it impossible for a resident to obtain service from a competing cable provider, then the ownership of the company providing exclusive service and the technical means for delivering video service [do] not matter,” Charter said.

Last year, the FCC voted to void exclusive cable contracts in multiple dwelling units (MDUs). The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has gone to court to invalidate the rule insofar as it applies to existing contracts. The FCC is deciding whether to extend its cable rule to other pay-TV providers.

“If the [FCC] can creatively and expansively extend its jurisdiction as it has [against cable MSOs], then it can and must do the same for these other exclusive providers. It should not exercise its creativity only to carve cable operators out of the MDU market,” Charter said.

In other comments, Charter said the FCC should not interfere with exclusive marketing agreements and bulk billing arrangements in MDUs.