Video Service Contracts with Multiple Dwelling Unit Operators

Under federal law,1 cable operators and telephone companies may not “enforce or execute any provision in a contract that grants to it the exclusive right to provide any video programming service (alone or in combination with other services) to a MDU.” These illegal contract clauses deny consumers the ability to obtain service from alternative video providers.

Cable operators and telephone companies may not enforce exclusivity clauses in their existing agreements with MDU owners. Such clauses are “null and void.”

“MDU” includes:

  • Apartment buildings
  • Condominium buildings
  • Cooperatives
  • Gated communities
  • Mobile home parks
  • Garden apartments

The following are not MDUs:

  • Time share units
  • Academic campuses and dormitories
  • Military bases
  • Hotels
  • Rooming houses
  • Prisons and jails
  • Halfway houses
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, or other assisted living facilities

“Bulk billing” and “exclusive marketing” arrangements that do not prevent MDU residents from choosing another video service provider are allowed.

In bulk billing arrangements, a video service provider agrees with the MDU owner to provide video service to every resident.

In exclusive marketing arrangements, the MDU owner grants a video service provider the exclusive right to certain means of marketing its service to residents, such as posting ads in a common area of the MDU.

1 47 C.F.R. § 76.2000.