If San Francisco Board of Supervisor Mark Farrell gets his way, tenants in multiple-occupancy buildings will have a greater opportunity to choose their Internet Service Providers.
In October, Farrell introduced a proposed ordinance that would require owners of multi-tenant residential and commercial properties to give building access to all state-licensed ISPs.
Choice Effectively Denied
Farrell’s proposal comes amidst reports of tenants denied access to ISPs of their choice.
According to a legislative digest of the proposed ordinance, property owners are not legally allowed to force tenants to sign up with one provider, but by limiting access their building to install fiber or antennas, they prevent their renters from choosing the provider they want:
"[M]any occupants of residential and commercial multiple occupancy buildings are unable to choose between service providers because their buildings property owners allow only one provider to install the facilities and equipment necessary to provide services to occupants..."
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
“The reality in San Francisco is that tens of thousands of residents have been denied access to different Internet service providers,” Farrell said. “I fundamentally believe competition is a good thing that will ultimately drive prices down and improve Internet access across all of San Francisco.”
Charles Barr, founder of up and coming fixed wireless provider Webpass, said owners block their access to approximately 400 large apartment buildings in the city. Google Fiber recently acquired Webpass.
The Proposed Ordinance
Farrell’s proposed ordinance would guarantee:
[t]he “right of occupants of residential multiple dwelling units and commercial office buildings (“multiple occupancy buildings”) to choose...