AfterDawn: Tech news

Apartment owners appeal FCC decision banning exclusive cable contracts

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 24 Jan 2008 0:29 User comments (24)

Apartment owners appeal FCC decision banning exclusive cable contracts One of the FCC's most contreversial decisions last year was a rule banning contracts for cable providers to exclusively service entire buildings or complexes, with no choice given to the tenants. "I believe that people in apartment buildings deserve to have the same choices as people in the suburbs," Martin said at the time. "The commission found that people who live in apartment buildings often have no choice of companies when it comes to their video service provider. This is because building owners often strike exclusive deals." He also pointed out that between 1995 and 2005, a period during which cable rates nearly doubled, other communications services such as long distance calling actually fell.
Now the National Multi Housing Council and National Apartment Association who represent the owners of many of these buildings are challenging the ruling in the U.S. District Court of Appeals' District of Columbia division. The complaint alleges that the ruling exceeds FCC authority and is "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, unsupported by substantial evidence."

This isn't the first high profile case against the FCC on similar grounds. In 2005 the courts overturned a FCC rule that would have required consumer electronics manufacturers to obey a so called broadcast flag instructing equipment not to copy content. In that case the court noted that mandating features in manufactured goods is outside the scope of the agency's jurisdiction.

"These misguided regulations reveal a total lack of understanding on the FCC's part about how the multifamily video market works," said Jim Arbury, senior vice president of government affairs for the NMHC and NAA, in a release. "Exclusive access contacts were the primary means through which apartment owners could force the large cable firms to lower their prices and improve their service offerings. By taking this bargaining tool away from owners, the FCC has essentially removed a key incentive the cable firms had to negotiate with apartment owners."

"While the idea of expanding competition in the telecommunications industry with the stroke of a pen appeals to some policymakers, in reality it is just not that easy," he said. "We predict that many renters will see higher prices and worse service as a result of the FCC's actions, exactly the opposite of the commission's stated intention."

Previous Next  

24 user comments

124.1.2008 3:10

I understand their motives.. I mean who would want to deal with welfare cases.. it is only good business.. But who is to say a drug dealer or hooker doesn't want good service...I don't hate on big business for trying to pick and choose the areas they serve..

224.1.2008 5:02

I could understand this 20 years ago, but not now. These cable companies and the slumlords, sorry, apartment managers, need to be forced to get with the 21st Century. People should be able to choose which provider they want and which channels they want with a phone call. Monopolies of any kind are un-American and public utilities have unfortunately been an exception. Cable is not a public utility and neither should it be an exception. With competition, you get better prices and service. Without competition, there is no incentive to do right by the customer.

324.1.2008 8:52
llongtheD
Inactive

I hate to admit it, but I actually agree with banning of these "exclusive" cable contracts in apartment complexes. I had never heard of this until I visited a buddy at his apartment in Salem, OR. His apartment had one of these types of exclusive contracts, and they used it as a tool to rip off their tenants. The apartment complex struck a deal with the cable company, then acts as a middle man and sells the cable service back to the tenants at a premium. No one in the complex is allowed to use another cable service, its actually part of their rental agreement, one of those "fine print" issues. If they spot you with a satellite dish, or trying to use some other service they try and impose a ridiculous fine, and give you 30 days to have it removed. For the tenant its a lose, lose situation. You pay more for cable, with no choice of providers. The cable companies, and the apartment development owners would have you believe they do this to "insulate" their tenants from high prices. Basically the apartment complex just uses this as a tool to F**k there tenants out of a few extra bucks. I certainly hope the ban on these "exclusive" cable contracts is NOT overturned. Its just another case of people with money, screwing over people without. The National Multi Housing Council, and the National Apartment Association, are nothing more than lobbying groups for the owners of these large family dwellings. They would have you believe they have the tenants best interests in mind. What a joke.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2008 @ 8:54

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

424.1.2008 10:27
goodswipe
Inactive

Originally posted by B33rdrnkr:
I understand their motives.. I mean who would want to deal with welfare cases.. it is only good business.. But who is to say a drug dealer or hooker doesn't want good service...I don't hate on big business for trying to pick and choose the areas they serve..
Welfare cases? So are you saying that anyone that lives in an apartment is a welfare case, hooker, or drug dealer? I surely hope that's not what you are implying. These companies aren't picking what areas they do and do not want to service, they are basically swarming in and making deals with the property managers which allow only them to service the property. I myself live in an apt, we are not allowed to go with any other service provider other then Time Warner(It's like this all over Austin) and I believe that is wrong and the ruling should stand. Time Warner's service sucks and not to mention, it's WAY overpriced.

524.1.2008 10:35

Man that is complicated. I guess it really just comes down to Greed. Like tax cuts for the wealthy or big business, you would think that would mean there would be more money to create jobs or new business, but it probably means more money in an executives pocket. This is the same, In theory it definately "COULD" lower cable rates having an exclusive contract with an apt complex, but what if everyone had choices and used sattalite or a different cable company, that would most likely lower rates as well to try to get back those same customers who found better service or better prices.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2008 @ 10:39

624.1.2008 11:07
banned4gd
Inactive

Hell Yeah people should agree with this. Those who don't should seriously have their judgment questioned. Who either hasn't been in this position or known someone that has? Apartment managers/landlords/owners are CHEAP and concerned only about 'scraping by' and a few extra bucks a month because of some "contract" or "deal" they struck with some half-assed, shady and sub-par cable provider with homemade channels, networks and selection is inexcusable. Besides, there isn't any benefit to the landlord anyway. It's not like the landlord is getting "paid" for cutting a deal and if the landlord is..............well then, that's greed at its most significant and time to lynch him/her. I have a choice at MY house (townhouse) and just because one chooses to live in an apartment doesn't mean they should have the "choice" taken away that everyone else has when picking a cable provider. I mean..........it's bad enough that I can't choose another company other than shady and overpriced Comcast because they have a monopoly. C'mon FCC ------------------ DEGREULATE and allow COX Communications in the Chicagoland area, the nation's best provider with best cust. service and fairest pricing.

And I agree with <goodswipe>...........get your head checked regarding that nasty comment about apartments. IF you did mean it that way then you should (and eventually probably will be) kicked in the bum, if not then disregard. Stupid comment anyway.............like you've never lived in one. Pfft

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2008 @ 12:23

724.1.2008 11:13
banned4gd
Inactive

Originally posted by B33rdrnkr:
I understand their motives.. I mean who would want to deal with welfare cases.. it is only good business.. But who is to say a drug dealer or hooker doesn't want good service...I don't hate on big business for trying to pick and choose the areas they serve..

Obviously your ability to empathize is non-existent and this has never happened to you. You been livin' with mommy and daddy, expense free in rich, white suburbia all your life?

824.1.2008 11:15
goodswipe
Inactive

nevermind, lol...hey banned, how long you think that name will last before it's canned by the AD gods?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2008 @ 11:20

924.1.2008 12:00
saltynuts
Inactive

Originally posted by B33rdrnkr:
I understand their motives.. I mean who would want to deal with welfare cases.. it is only good business.. But who is to say a drug dealer or hooker doesn't want good service...I don't hate on big business for trying to pick and choose the areas they serve..





man you are so f up its not even funny i live in a very nice loft in center city philly and make good money and i went to temple university do that make me a drug dealing pimp,i think not i like the city its ok for maybe bacaues my parents were not uptight about the city.and tought us that people in the city were beneath us.you really need to get out more and stop being so affraid you reak of kitty cat.

1024.1.2008 12:21
banned4gd
Inactive

Originally posted by goodswipe:
nevermind, lol...hey banned, how long you think that name will last before it's canned by the AD gods?
Not really sure..............they let the last one go for longer than I had anticipated and same for the one prior to that. Longer each time. I haven't violated really anything to deserve their scrutiny. They just want what they want. Actually, this post (to yours) is a 'technical' violation for being "off topic" and I will probably be banned for replying to you. Kinda like being in N. Korea. If I had not been banned as many times as I have in the past for coming down hard on people's lame comments then I would DEFINITELY be a 'member'. I love this site!

1124.1.2008 12:26
banned4gd
Inactive

Originally posted by goodswipe:
nevermind, lol...hey banned, how long you think that name will last before it's canned by the AD gods?

Ssssshhhhhhhhhh..................maybe they won't know it's me (whispering)

1224.1.2008 13:12

Quote:
Originally posted by B33rdrnkr:
I understand their motives.. I mean who would want to deal with welfare cases.. it is only good business.. But who is to say a drug dealer or hooker doesn't want good service...I don't hate on big business for trying to pick and choose the areas they serve..
Welfare cases? So are you saying that anyone that lives in an apartment is a welfare case, hooker, or drug dealer? I surely hope that's not what you are implying. These companies aren't picking what areas they do and do not want to service, they are basically swarming in and making deals with the property managers which allow only them to service the property. I myself live in an apt, we are not allowed to go with any other service provider other then Time Warner(It's like this all over Austin) and I believe that is wrong and the ruling should stand. Time Warner's service sucks and not to mention, it's WAY overpriced.

I live in an apartment too.. I was referring to Big city housing projects.. The ones that the government funds.. That the taxpayers pay for.. I mean if I were a businessman I would not advertise in those projects to sell my product, especially if it were something that I would bill people for...I would stick in the burbs...

1324.1.2008 13:43
goodswipe
Inactive

LOL, again b33rdrnkr, your missing the point here. This is about cable companies such as Time Warner making deals with property managers that allow them and only them to be the main service provider for customers that want cable. No other cable company can come out there and provide you service. The FCC has stepped in and basically abolished this type of business practice and now building owners are trying to get this ruling overturned. Has nothing to do with cable companies not wanting to provide people with cable service that live in the "projects".

Quote:
"Exclusive access contacts were the primary means through which apartment owners could force the large cable firms to lower their prices and improve their service offerings. By taking this bargaining tool away from owners, the FCC has essentially removed a key incentive the cable firms had to negotiate with apartment owners."
LMFAO, that's a crock of sh*t, a buddy of mine was paying the same prices I was and he lives in a house. I don't know where they get off making comments like that. Also, they still offer the same sh*tty HD channels that they always have. I wonder who out there wants to watch the Food Network or Home and Garden in HD - I know I don't want to!

GO FCC!! WOOT!!

1424.1.2008 13:52
banned4gd
Inactive

Quote:
LOL, again b33rdrnkr, your missing the point here. This is about cable companies such as Time Warner making deals with property managers that allow them and only them to be the main service provider for customers that want cable. No other cable company can come out there and provide you service. The FCC has stepped in and basically abolished this type of business practice and now building owners are trying to get this ruling overturned. Has nothing to do with cable companies not wanting to provide people with cable service that live in the "projects".

Quote:
"Exclusive access contacts were the primary means through which apartment owners could force the large cable firms to lower their prices and improve their service offerings. By taking this bargaining tool away from owners, the FCC has essentially removed a key incentive the cable firms had to negotiate with apartment owners."
LMFAO, that's a crock of sh*t, a buddy of mine was paying the same prices I was and he lives in a house. I don't know where they get off making comments like that. Also, they still offer the same sh*tty HD channels that they always have. I wonder who out there wants to watch the Food Network or Home and Garden in HD - I know I don't want to!

GO FCC!! WOOT!!


AGREEEEEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, I'm all about people making decisions for themselves and not as much about government intervention EXCEPT when a business or industry is large enough to drown out the consumer or simply when the consumer's voice can't be heard. Hmmmmm........tenants against the landlord???..........Landlord will definitely win out by simply ignoring what the tenants want and then if they complain...........all they can do is simply 'bring it to the attention of another' like the BBB or FCC and they will NOT be proactive in any way. In this case, the FCC is pre-empting by disallowing what should be disallowed. They are protecting the little guy from obvious screwing. Regarding this...................GO FCC!! As for the petitioners ?.?.?.?.?.?. How can they be so militant as to care about fighting this? Jiminy Christmas!! Talking about fighting an unworthy cause just to gain a tiny little bit. Now I really want to know what benefit they're reaping.

1524.1.2008 13:55
goodswipe
Inactive

Exactly my thoughts, If these guys are wanting to take the ruling back to court, what kinda money were they making off this?? Sounds like a big sham to me, the little man is always getting screwed by the man!

1624.1.2008 14:38
banned4gd
Inactive

Originally posted by goodswipe:
Exactly my thoughts, If these guys are wanting to take the ruling back to court, what kinda money were they making off this?? Sounds like a big sham to me, the little man is always getting screwed by the man!
Always!! That's why I'm so hard on some peeps here. I put my foot down and I am very vocal about my opposition because I see some of these people someday becoming decision-makers for the rest of us and dooming us all and that just scares the crap out of me. Rather than picking and choosing who I'm going to shun............I just shun 'em all when their feet get put in their mouths. AD does not like that. I have MUCH respect for all. But I must clear this up...............I respect ALL people's ABILITY to pass on their opinion, but I do NOT respect ALL opinion's when passed............especially when they're passed out the "other" end.

1724.1.2008 14:40

Uhhhh... What about the wiring? Adding a cable system or two to an apartment building/complex is not trivial! It's going to cost thousands of dollars, and that cost will be added to the rent. It's the owner's property, and the owner has a right to approve/deny any construction.

I live on a mobile home park, and we have Comcast. It would cost a fortune to tear-up the streets and add a cable. Even if I were willing to pay for it, the owner is not going to allow that. (Since I own the mobile home, I am allowed to "drill holes" and install a DirecTV antenna.)

Sometimes the owner has an exclusive contract in exchange for company wiring the apartment complex for free during construction.

1824.1.2008 14:52
goodswipe
Inactive

That should have been figured out before the complex was built. I understand what you're saying but, the customer should have the decision to go with w/e service they want. Allowing only one cable company to provide service to an entire complex isn't right, it creates a monopoly with these cable companies, mainly Time Warner.

1924.1.2008 15:16
banned4gd
Inactive

Originally posted by DVDdoug:
Uhhhh... What about the wiring? Adding a cable system or two to an apartment building/complex is not trivial! It's going to cost thousands of dollars, and that cost will be added to the rent. It's the owner's property, and the owner has a right to approve/deny any construction.

I live on a mobile home park, and we have Comcast. It would cost a fortune to tear-up the streets and add a cable. Even if I were willing to pay for it, the owner is not going to allow that. (Since I own the mobile home, I am allowed to "drill holes" and install a DirecTV antenna.)

Sometimes the owner has an exclusive contract in exchange for company wiring the apartment complex for free during construction.

That be all part of a business plan matey. You want to attract people to patronize your business establishment?? Then do the right thing and offer what is plainly wanted. And an increase for THAT REASON ALONE is inexcusable and wrong. There's no such thing as an apartment complex that DOESN"T raise monthly rate at least 10%/year. Cabling is simply part of operating cost. You disagree?????............then GOD help anyone that lives in your building if you ever owned one because they'd be in for a nightmare of living conditions.

As for your analogy/argument about putting cable in a subdivision??? Uggghhhhh!!! You're hopeless! Never would have thought ANYONE to say that. That's called 'preparing the community for the future'. It's pro-activity..........IT"S WHAT WE DO AS PEOPLE WITH AMBITION. With that reasoning...........why don't they just NOT run new cable for ANY town/subdivision/community. Why don't people just run their own cable (in ground) from the CO? C'mon man. Think logically please.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2008 @ 15:17

2024.1.2008 15:19
banned4gd
Inactive

I may be gettin' in trouble for that last post BUT I was not bad.......

2124.1.2008 19:55

Quote:
Quote:
LOL, again b33rdrnkr, your missing the point here. This is about cable companies such as Time Warner making deals with property managers that allow them and only them to be the main service provider for customers that want cable. No other cable company can come out there and provide you service. The FCC has stepped in and basically abolished this type of business practice and now building owners are trying to get this ruling overturned. Has nothing to do with cable companies not wanting to provide people with cable service that live in the "projects".

Quote:
"Exclusive access contacts were the primary means through which apartment owners could force the large cable firms to lower their prices and improve their service offerings. By taking this bargaining tool away from owners, the FCC has essentially removed a key incentive the cable firms had to negotiate with apartment owners."
LMFAO, that's a crock of sh*t, a buddy of mine was paying the same prices I was and he lives in a house. I don't know where they get off making comments like that. Also, they still offer the same sh*tty HD channels that they always have. I wonder who out there wants to watch the Food Network or Home and Garden in HD - I know I don't want to!

GO FCC!! WOOT!!


AGREEEEEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, I'm all about people making decisions for themselves and not as much about government intervention EXCEPT when a business or industry is large enough to drown out the consumer or simply when the consumer's voice can't be heard. Hmmmmm........tenants against the landlord???..........Landlord will definitely win out by simply ignoring what the tenants want and then if they complain...........all they can do is simply 'bring it to the attention of another' like the BBB or FCC and they will NOT be proactive in any way. In this case, the FCC is pre-empting by disallowing what should be disallowed. They are protecting the little guy from obvious screwing. Regarding this...................GO FCC!! As for the petitioners ?.?.?.?.?.?. How can they be so militant as to care about fighting this? Jiminy Christmas!! Talking about fighting an unworthy cause just to gain a tiny little bit. Now I really want to know what benefit they're reaping.
My bad.. Yeah forget that Sh1t.. I would like to have a choice when it comes to that..

2225.1.2008 15:12

Originally posted by article:
He also pointed out that between 1995 and 2005, a period during which cable rates nearly doubled, other communications services such as long distance calling actually fell.

Why doesn't the FCC focus on this part more than the agreement with apartment complexes.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2008 @ 15:12

2319.2.2008 0:30

The western world is a democracy and should stay that way. you can not just give one thing to a set of people and say thats it. if u were a country that was not economically secure then i would understand but this is not wat it is here u have to leave the choice up to the consumers themselves.

2419.1.2009 18:23

found this post looking for new fcc laws .
I live in a manufactured home park, our lot rent contained cable in the lot rent. a few years ago the owners of park decided to work out a bulk? contract for basic cable and signed contract that does not quit until 20011 behind our backs knowing the new digital boxes would allow us to get 30 some stations for free in Feb . with digital box you can buy with government coupon for $10 .
If that wasn't enough they amended prospectuses to put it as a user fee out of the lot rent so they could triple the price! mind you this is for basic! we used to pay $13 is now $39.95 saying this is a deal! Full digital cable with a box and hundreds of stations is $54 so this is a deal? also this is a park full of elderly on social security. They should be able to opt out of cable like most consumers and if one can't afford it to not take it .The $39.95 would mean 2 weeks of food for an eldery person on S.S. yet they are forced to pay for it. upon reading of new ffc rule about bulk contracts I decided to try to test this and gave 30 day notice to quit( we are allowed to do this with side user fees for lawn and garbage) and did not pay the cable but did pay lot rent. when only 3 days late I was served with an eviction notice for non payment of 39.95 lot rent !plus a $50 late fee! yep these are the lovely caring landlords that are trying to keep our prices down !!! And yes I do live in Fraud Friendly Florida!We Need your HELP FCC! please stand your ground against these people and their sneaky contracts! the elderly are getting to where they cannot afford to eat! Hum watch tv. or eat which one would you choose! at least most of you do get to choose!

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive