Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2019

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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BROADBAND POLICY 6 0 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9 Community Connectivity Is Threatened Proponents bill it as a win for apartment residents and owners, but apartment owners say the recently enacted San Francisco MDU ordinance ultimately creates more hurdles for delivering high-quality connectivity. By Kevin Donnelly / National Multifamily Housing Council D espite the success of broadband deployment across much of the multifamily rental market, policymakers in some jurisdictions have looked to upend existing telecommunications rules that have delivered that success. One such regulation is a recently enacted ordinance in San Francisco (Ordinance 250-16). ƒe ordinance sets up new rules for internet service providers (ISPs) to access multifamily properties and, in doing so, e‡ectively allows any ISP access to privately owned apartment communities, regardless of how many providers already serve the property. Supporters of the ordinance say the new rules will improve access to broadband services while providing more consumer choice and transparency. Although perhaps a well-intended e‡ort, the ordinance has a number of shortcomings that will harm broadband deployment and access by raising rates for the city's apartment residents, slowing expansion and reducing investment in network maintenance, and degrading customer service. For these reasons, many in the apartment industry consider the ordinance an unnecessary hurdle rather than a win for residents, property owners and ISPs, as some proponents of the ordinance have suggested. ƒis is why the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) takes issue with the article, "San Francisco's MDU Ordinance Is a Win-Win-Win," written by Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a large ISP, that appeared in the October 2018 edition of B ROADBAND COMMUNITIES. COMMITMENT TO QUALITY BROADBAND ƒe apartment industry takes broadband issues seriously. Changing resident lifestyles and preferences have driven the industry to invest heavily in ensuring that residents have access to high-quality, high-speed internet services from multiple providers. In fact, recent research shows that the desirability of an apartment community is directly linked to the quality and reliability of on-site internet. In the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Renter Preferences Survey, high- speed internet ranked as the second most popular apartment feature after air conditioning in San Francisco, and of the 93 percent of apartment residents who said high-speed internet was important to them, 60 percent said they would not rent without it. Needless to say, providing access to high- quality, high-speed internet is no longer a choice but a business imperative for apartment žrms. Given the threat that the San Francisco ordinance poses to community connectivity, the apartment industry remains opposed to the new rule on several grounds.

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