D.C. Court Upholds FCC Ban On MDU Contracts


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Monday upheld an FCC decision banning exclusive contracts between cable companies and the owners of apartments and other multiple-dwelling units.

In the decision, the FCC both prevented new exclusive contracts and nullified existing ones.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association had appealed the FCC decision, but a three-judge panel of the court concluded that "the commission acted well within [its] bounds" to ban the contracts.

AT&T, which filed a complaint against Cox for denying it access to San Diego Padres games, used the decision to push the FCC to rule in its favor, suggesting the situation was analagous. "Incumbent cable companies were actively walling off competition to consumers living in apartments and condos through these exclusive access arrangements," said AT&T in a statement. "This decision recognizes the FCC's authority and prohibits unfair practices by cable companies that limit competition and consumer choice for video service."