FCC Paper: Mandatory Access Laws Increase Access to Broadband

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States that have a law mandating access by telecom providers to condos or apartment buildings generally have a higher broadband update rate in “Residential Multi-Tenant Environments,” or MTEs. That’s the main takeaway from a paper released by the FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics. It comes as the FCC prepares to vote today on steps to promote facilities-based broadband deployment and competition in apartments, condominiums, office buildings, and other multiple tenant environments.

The Working Paper, titled: “An Empirical Analysis of Broadband Access in Residential Multi-Tenant Environments,” analyzes the effects of state mandatory access laws on the adoption of fixed terrestrial broadband services. These laws prohibit the owners of MTEs, such as large apartment buildings or condominiums, from interfering with service providers’ efforts to install facilities or offer services to tenants and residents. 

Analysis by economists Steven Kauffman and Octavian Carare suggests the increase in MTE broadband update may be a result of a reduction in either the cost of supplying broadband in MTEs or an increase in consumer choice. “Broadband is the essential communications technology of the 21st century,” said OEA Acting Chief Giulia McHenry. 

“With 30 percent of Americans living in apartments or condominiums, it’s important that we understand barriers to broadband that may affect access by these consumers.” McHenry called the document a tremendous achievement, and an example of what the new OEA will continue to achieve in the future — producing academic quality research for its own sake and meaningfully informing Commission rulemaking.

July 10, 2019         

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