FCC bans exclusive deals between phone companies and apartments

WASHINGTON (AP) Regulators in Washington today approved a rule banning exclusive telephone service agreements in apartment buildings.

The move is expected to give tenants their pick of providers. The Federal Communications Commission says exclusive contracts between carriers and apartment-building owners hurt consumers and harm competition.

It noted that the deals have also blocked residents from getting bundled voice, video and high-speed Internet service packages. The agency's order applies to both existing and future contracts in apartment buildings and other multiple tenant properties.

Major carriers, including Verizon Communications and San Antonio-based AT&T, supported the agency's action. But housing and real estate groups say the FCC is overextending
its regulatory reach