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Broadband options in apartments

Last updated: 5/8/17

Broadband options in apartments

It’s important for households to have many choices for broadband service.

We have some information below about broadband choices in apartment buildings, and what you can do if you run into any issues.

Still have questions? Contact:
Broadband and Cable
43 Hawkins Street
Suite 1B
Boston, MA 02114
United States

Residential broadband service

What is broadband?

Internet services vary in speed. A “broadband” connection must download content at 25 Megabytes per second (Mbps) or more, and upload content at 3 Mbps or more.  At 25 Mbps, downloading a 30-minute show in HD on Netflix takes about 8 minutes.

In your neighborhood

Enter your zip code at BroadbandNow to see which companies offer service in your area.

In your building

Your household might not have access to service from each of the providers who currently offer residential broadband service in the City.  The good news, though, is that coverage areas are expanding for these companies and new providers are entering Boston.

Barriers to broadband choice

Do you rent an apartment? Have you found it difficult to access the broadband option you want?  Your landlord may not be aware that you would like more broadband service options. The deals your landlord makes with providers may also be affecting which providers you can use.  We outlined some possibilities below:

Awareness

You landlord may not be aware that tenants would like to have more broadband options. Let's say you’re the only person who wants to buy service from a provider who does not serve your building.  Your landlord may think it’s not worth entering into negotiations with another provider for a single tenant.

Unfair Requirements

Your landlord may be placing unfair requirements on providers who would like to serve tenants in the building.  Your landlord might ask to get a cut of the money you and other tenants pay for broadband service. Providers may not want to serve your building if your landlord requires this type of revenue sharing.

Exclusivity Clauses

Your landlord may think they can’t allow other providers into the building. The contracts between your landlord and service providers in your building may include an “exclusivity clause.” This type of clause is ILLEGAL under federal law, meaning it has no meaning. But, your landlord may not be aware that it is unenforceable. As a result, they may hesitate to allow other providers in the building.

Dealing with broadband issues

What the law says

According to Massachusetts General Law, your landlord must allow cable TV providers to provide service in your unit.  Unfortunately, this law says nothing about broadband. The Massachusetts state legislature has yet to update these laws to provide access for broadband providers.

Talking to your landlord

Let your landlord know that broadband choice is important to you:

  • Do want to buy service from a provider who doesn’t offer service in your building? Ask your landlord to allow them in.  If they do not allow them in, ask why.
  • You might also consider connecting with your neighbors on this topic and speaking with your landlord as a group.

We want to hear from you

Please let us know if there is other information about broadband choice in apartment buildings that would be helpful to you.  We would also like to learn from you.

Contact us:

Please consider reaching out to share about your experience seeking broadband choice in your building:

617-635-0037
anne.schwieger@boston.gov