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FCC Rules (fwd)
(relatively non-operational) Interesting ruling that hit my e-mail.. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Yesterday, the FCC implemented measures to ensure that building owners do not unreasonably deny competing telecommunications service providers access to customers in residential and commercial buildings or other multiple tenant environments ("MTEs"). In a News Release, the FCC indicated it was taking the following actions: 1. The FCC forbade telecommunications carriers from entering into exclusive contracts, preferred provider agreements and similar arrangements that effectively prohibit property owners from permitting other providers to access their property. This does not appear to impact agreements previously executed. 2. The FCC established procedures to facilitate moving the demarcation point to the minimum point of entry ("MPOE") just inside the building at the building owner's request in order to reduce the competitive carriers' dependence on the incumbent local exchange carrier ("ILEC"), the local Baby Bell company, to gain access to wiring inside the building. Under current law, the demarcation point may be located at either the MPOE just inside the building or further inside the building. 3. The FCC determined that the Telecom Act of 1996 required that ILECs must afford telecommunications carriers and cable service providers reasonable and nondiscriminatory access to conduits and rights-of-way located in MTEs, to the extent such conduits and rights-of-way are owned or controlled by the ILEC. 4. The FCC prohibited restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of certain video antennas on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user. In addition, the FCC requested, among other things, further comment on whether (1) today's prohibition on exclusive contracts in commercial buildings should be extended to residential buildings, and (2) it should proscribe carriers from entering into contracts that grant them preferences other than exclusive access, such as exclusive marketing to tenants or the payment of landlord bonuses. Although the FCC recognized that the real estate industry has taken "positive steps" to facilitate tenant choice of telecommunications providers by working toward the development of best practices and model agreements, it noted that the adopted measures may well be "insufficient" in themselves to secure a full measures of choice for customers located in MTEs. Accordingly, it stated that it will "closely monitor" industry actions to resolve access concerns. If such actions are not productive, the FCC is prepared to take further action, including rules that mandate access to MTEs. It appears that the only immediate impact of these measures on real estate owners is the prohibition on execution of exclusive and similar contracts; however, the complete text of the FCC's report and order has not yet been published. We will provide a more detailed report on this matter at that time.