WASHINGTON — As part of its ongoing efforts to accelerate access to high-speed Internet service, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comment on ways to increase deployment, competition and innovation in the market for broadband in apartments, shopping malls and other multiple tenant environments (MTEs).

While FCC rules currently bar telecommunications and video services providers from entering into exclusive agreements that can stifle competition in MTEs, the Commission has adopted a notice of inquiry seeking information about what additional barriers to deployment may exist. The FCC is requesting input on whether and how it should act to remove any barriers that raise the cost and slow deployment in MTEs of next-generation networks, which are critical to jobs, health care, education, innovation, and information.

Specifically, the Notice seeks comment on:

  • The current state of broadband competition in MTEs.
  • Whether there are state and local regulations that may inhibit or have the effect of inhibiting broadband deployment and competition within MTEs, such as by preventing market entry or mandating infrastructure sharing by private companies.
  • Whether the Commission should take any action regarding service providers’ exclusive marketing and bulk billing arrangements within MTEs.
  • How revenue sharing agreements and exclusive wiring arrangements between MTE owners and Internet service providers may affect broadband competition within MTEs.
  • Other practices that may impact the ability of Internet service providers to compete in MTEs.