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Your Landlord and Your Internet Service Provider Could Be Working Against You

Living in a high-end apartment building in an up and coming neighborhood such as South Boston, you might expect to have more choice for your internet.  But in most cases, you still only have one provider available in your building. In one of our previous posts, we talked about how telco monopolies came to be. But did you know that some landlords contribute to America’s telco monopolies? In some cases, major landlord require Internet service providers to “pay-to-play.” Typically this comes in two forms:

  1. A door fee: a per-unit fee paid by a provider to a landlord prior to even servicing residences
  2. Revenue share agreement: providers must provide a share of their revenue from servicing residents

These agreements incentivize your landlord to allow the highest bidder to service residents regardless of their customer service and discourage competition in the marketplace. While the FCC does encourage competition in all multi-dwelling unit (MDU) buildings by banning exclusivity contracts between landlords and properties, legal loopholes allow for revenue sharing agreements (also known as “marketing exclusivity agreements” or structural exclusivity agreements (a landlord gives an ISP exclusive access building wiring) which all add up to limited choice.
All of these convoluted loopholes lead to a system that’s incredibly unfair for consumers. People want fast and reliable Internet service with equally fast and reliable customer service – not just whichever company is doling out the most cash to their landlord. At netBlazr, we not engage in revenue sharing agreements – we work every to provide the most affordable internet service to our customers and a great amenity for property manager.
With internet becoming more and more vital for residents and business alike, this revenue share model may break down. Companies like Wired Score, which rates a building’s Internet readiness and reliability, help give insight to businesses as look for new spaces. More ISPs translate into a better WiredScore rating and help attract landlords attract new tenants. That said, there is still much to be done and revenue share agreements are still quite . Cities and towns can create competition by closing loopholes and creating incentives for landlords to improve building infrastructure and to makes it easy for a variety of Internet providers to provide service to buildings. People deserve to shop for the speeds and service that they want at reasonable prices – not just whatever service their landlord and their Internet corporation buddies dictate they can have.

Sources:

https://backchannel.com/the-new-payola-deals-landlords-cut-with-internet-providers-cf60200aa9e9#.hwotzrofz

http://wiredscore.com/public/about