FCC Explores MDU Broadband Regulation
The Federal Communications Commission today requested public feedback into steps it can take to accelerate broadband deployment and tenant choice within multi-dwelling units (MDUs). The FCC is also seeking comment on the impact common agreements between operators and building owners have on next-generation networks.
By addressing MDUs -- which the FCC calls multiple tenant environments (MTEs) and interprets to include both dwellings and working buildings -- the US can close part of the digital divide, according to the agency. (Typically, fixed access vendors also include dorms, barracks and other constructs where multiple individuals or families reside within the general MDU category.) Almost 30% of the US population lives in condos and apartments, the agency said, with millions more working in office buildings.
Given the complexities and cost associated with deploying infrastructure, network operators often want exclusivity or some kind of market advantage if they invest in an MDU rollout. But, the FCC said, if providers know they must share those communication facilities with competitors they're less likely to invest in deployment. To further encourage investment in MTEs and increase consumer broadband choice, the FCC unveiled three steps:
- Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM): The FCC wants public input on additional actions it can take to speed up broadband networks and services, especially comments on the effects on competitors and deployments of revenue-sharing agreements between owners and providers, exclusivity regarding rooftop facilities and single-provider wiring arrangements.
- Declaratory ruling: The Commission clarified that it wants state and local experimentation to increase MTE access as long as these acts abide by federal law and policy
- San Fran Sharing: The FCC preempted part of a San Francisco ordinance that required sharing in-use wiring in MTEs, a mandate that "deters deters broadband deployment, undercuts the Commissionís rules regarding control of cable wiring in residential MTEs, and threatens the Commissionís framework to protect the technical integrity of cable systems for the benefit of viewers," the FCC wrote.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
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