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FCC Issues Guide on Exclusive Broadband Marketing Agreements

A multi-dwelling building in the East Village of New York
(Image credit: Alexander Spatari via Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission has released a guide to help smaller MVPDs comply with its new rules on boosting access to broadband competition in multiple tenant environments (MTEs), such as apartments and condos.

In February, the FCC voted to prohibit providers and dwelling owners (park owners in the case of mobile homes) from striking exclusive revenue-sharing agreements and require providers to let tenants know “in plain language” if they have exclusive marketing arrangements with building owners — though importantly it does not prohibit such arrangements.

Now, the commission has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide to facilitate compliance with the rules for providers who may not have an army of lawyers to ensure that is the case.

The guide is not gospel, however, per this from the commission: “[T]he Commission retains the discretion to adopt case-by-case approaches, where appropriate, that may differ from this Guide.”

Among the pieces of compliance advice are that all exclusive marketing information — in print or online — must disclose that while the provider has the right to exclusive marketing materials, that does not mean that it is the only one who can provide such service and that alternate service providers may, indeed, be available. ▪️ 

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.