When I first moved to my building I remember calling Comcast to get service only to find out they cannot help me and they told me to call Broadstripe (formerly Millennium), as that was my cable provider. I remember thinking that was crazy and maybe illegal? Well, I went ahead and gave up all choice and competition and reluctantly ordered cable and internet from Broadstripe.
Ever since then I have been having issues (for about 2 years). Lately, it has been even worse. All my cable channels will randomly turn to CBS and the box will read “EAS”. My internet goes out daily lasting anywhere from one minute to all day. Sometimes my connection is so slow that my VOIP phone does not even connect, or drops calls in the middle of a conversation. In the last month, I feel I have called Broadstripe customer service more times than I have called my own mother.
After talking with friends and searching twitter for “Broadstripe“, I am finding that a lot of Belltowners have the same issues with Broadstripe and are frusterated by not being able to choose another company because of the exclusive contracts between apartments and cable companies.
Well, maybe we now have a choice?
In late May, an appeals court held up the FCC’s ban on exclusive cable deals:
“An appeals court decided to back consumers on Tuesday, unanimously upholding a Federal Communications Commission order banning exclusive cable video contracts in apartment buildings and other multiple dwelling units (MDUs).
The agency acted well within the bounds of the law, ruled the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court even smiled on applying the new regulations to current cable/realtor deals, noting that the FCC “balanced benefits against harms and expressly determined that applying the rule to existing contracts was worth its costs.” The call is also a victory for telcos like AT&T and Verizon, both of which pushed hard for the FCC to make its decision.”
I wanted to test this ruling out, so I called Comcast to see if I could get a quote for cable in my apartment. I gave my address to the customer service agent and she immediately said she was sorry, but Broadstripe owns the wiring in my building so only Broadstripe can provide services. I then asked about the FCC ruling and asked for her manager. The manager came on the phone and said that since Broadstripe owns the wiring, they get exclusive service and it is not technically a monopoly because we could have satellite service (which is not allowed in my building.)
So, even with the FCC ruling, it appears my Belltown apartment building is still in an exclusive contract with Broadstripe and I should just get used to a shoddy internet and cable connection.