For owners and managers of residential multi-dwelling unit (“MDU”) buildings, the climate has never been better for obtaining benefits from cable and broadband providers. The market today is more competitive than it was several years ago. As such, many geographical areas have moved from a monopolistic to a competitive market in communications services.
This has resulted in greater potential benefits for MDU owners and managers. Rather than being forced to accept a package from a single provider, they can now solicit proposals from multiple providers and negotiate the best deal. Some of the benefits include the following:
- Revenue Sharing: MDU owners are typically eligible to receive upfront fees and a portion of the revenue received by cable and internet providers from MDU’s. To obtain maximum revenue, it is critical to know the industry, know the specific provider and negotiate the best possible deal.
- Discounted Services: Communications providers will agree to significant “volume discounts” as part of bulk services agreements for MDU buildings. Often MDU residents are not currently benefiting from these discounts, which include lower rates on cable, internet and telephone packages.
- Legal Protections: Service agreements offered by communications providers are typically one-sided and minimize the legal rights of the property owner. From insurance requirements to limitations on liability to protection of building easements, it is critical for MDU owners to be legally protected.
The key is to obtaining these benefits is to know the negotiating strategies of the communications providers and to know the regulations that apply to MDU agreements. For example, MDU owners are prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) from entering into exclusive service agreements, but they are permitted to enter into exclusive marketing agreements. In 2022, the FCC issued a new Order which significantly changed the MDU regulatory landscape.
The Cohen Law Group knows the applicable regulations and has extensive experience negotiating with communications providers. We negotiate all communications agreements—including marketing agreements, access agreements, and bulk services agreements—to maximize our clients’ financial benefits and fully protect their properties.