BOLO: Model State Code on Telecomm Could Burden Owners

Member Outreach ,

NAA recently informed members of a recent development in telecommunications that may require apartment owners to grant access to broadband providers without receiving just compensation. The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), a committee formed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), approved Model State Code (MSC) to this effect that state and local governments may adopt.

Of primary concern is Article 8 of the MSC, which gives telecommunications providers the right to install broadband facilities in all commercial and multifamily residential buildings. Additionally, the MSC would mandate the construction of the broadband facilities to be provided at the property owner’s expense. Not only does this interfere with private property rights, it disrupts negotiations between property owners and communications service providers, hurts broadband competition and encourages inefficient investment.

Despite efforts by NAA and NMHC to defeat the overly burdensome proposal, the MSC was approved 16-8. That said, it is critical to note that the MSC is only a model, not law. NAA affiliates should be on the lookout for policymakers interested in broadband access concerns, as adopting the MSC locally would trigger required compliance for owners and operators. To this end, NAA and NMHC have developed advocacy resources affiliates can use to push back on any efforts to adopt the MSC, which can be found on NAA’s Broadband Access policy page.