FCC gives break to office buildings

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Small businesses and apartment tenants may get more choices for their telephone service under modest steps taken by regulators Thursday.

The Federal Communications Commission voted to bar phone companies from getting exclusive rights to serve office buildings with multiple businesses, and said it would weigh expanding those rules to residential apartment buildings.

But, careful not to trigger charges of overstepping its jurisdiction, the FCC shied away from placing any mandates on landlords themselves.

The commission’s rules also block telephone companies from negotiating with commercial building owners for exclusive access to premises where they can set up equipment. Phone companies that control these areas in apartment complexes, campuses and office buildings would have to give other carriers and cable companies access, under the agency’s action.

"Access to the ‘last 100 feet’ is one of the last remaining barriers to complete end-to-end competition for telecommunications services," said FCC Chairman William Kennard.

About a third of all Americans live in some type of multiunit complex, according to industry experts.

In some areas, the FCC said it would look to the voluntary commitments offered by the real estate industry to foster more choice for tenants.

But the agency also said it would weigh further measures, such as prohibiting telecommunications companies from getting exclusive marketing agreements or bonuses from landlords.

Representatives of Real Access Alliance, a coalition of real estate industry associations that represent 1 million members nationwide, said they believe consumer demand will dictate how landlords provide their telecommunications services.

But new competitors whose own networks — fiber optic lines, fixed wireless and other services — reach only to the door of an apartment building say they need federal assistance in getting access to the last few feet to reach the consumer.

"We want to get access to the building, and we want to justly compensate anybody that provides such access," said Jonathan Askin, vice president at the Association for Local Telecommunications Services, which represents competing telecom companies.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Report of downed hot air balloon turns up farmer’s tarp near Snohomish

Two 911 callers believed they saw a hot air balloon crash, leading to a major search-and-rescue response. It was a false alarm.

People gather for a color throw at Stanwood and Camano’s first-ever Pride celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘We’ve at least come a little ways’: Snohomish to host first Pride event

A 10 a.m. parade on First Street will be followed by a pop-up market with 60 vendors, a downtown wine walk, queer cabaret and more.

The site of a former 76 gas station and a handful of century old buildings will be the location for new apartments buildings at the corner of Pacific and Rucker on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Old gas station demolished for apartments in downtown Everett

A 200-unit apartment complex between three and seven stories tall is proposed at Pacific and Rucker avenues.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Police: Marysville man fist-bumped cop, exposing tattoos of wanted robber

The suspect told police he robbed three stores to pay off a drug debt. He’d just been released from federal prison for another armed robbery.

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Gabriela Kelpe at her home on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Long waits, big bills: Everett mom’s painful search for dental care

When she learned she needed a root canal, Gabriela Kelpe read an infection could go to her unborn baby. But she struggled to get affordable care.

Most Read