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FCC’s New Ruling on Telecommunications in Multi-Tenant Environments: Power to the Tenants?

May 23, 2022

Drew Sorrell

Originally published in The KEY

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long been eyeing ways to increase competition related to telecommunications services in so-called “Multiple Tenant Environments” (MTEs). The FCC has explained that MTEs are commercial or residential premises such as apartment buildings, condominiums, shopping malls, or cooperatives.

In 2017, the FCC sought public comment regarding promoting competition in this arena, and in 2019, it issued a notice of proposed rulemaking. Last year, in response to an executive order issued by President Biden, the FCC sought to refresh public comment on the matter.
On February 15, 2022, the FCC released its new ruling that telecommunications providers (called “multichannel video programing distributors” or MVPDs) may not enter into exclusive or graduated revenue sharing arrangements with MTE owners. Likewise, providers must disclose to MTE tenants the existence of an exclusive marketing arrangement.

The FCC further clarified that its inside cable wiring rules prohibit sale-and-leaseback arrangements between MVPDs and residential MTE owners since they would effectively deny access to alternative providers.

The new ruling applies not only to new contracts, but also existing ones. More detail regarding the order can be found at FCC 22-12.

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Drew Sorrell is a seasoned business lawyer with particular expertise in technology, cybersecurity and privacy issues. With an MBA in marketing and finance, he approaches clients’ legal issues with both a practical business bent and a self-described geeky love of technology.

Drew enjoys working with CLO’s, CIO’s, CTO’s and technology owners at businesses of all sizes in every phase of their legal needs. He assists them on the front end, drafting and negotiating software licenses, Internet service provider agreements, data privacy/breach policies and procedures, and employment/services agreements as well as the indemnity and insurance coverage related to those agreements. He advises clients on the GDPR and state-specific regulations, penetration testing and security audits. He also has years of experience handling matters when things go wrong, including data breaches, privacy issues and other technology or software problems.

A founding member of the Sedona Conference Group 11 (Privacy/Data Security), Drew is frequently asked to speak and write on legal and ethical issues arising from technology, including unfair and deceptive trade practices, data breach, privacy, data governance, and technology contract drafting. He is chair of the firm’s multi-disciplinary Data Governance Group as well as the past chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Intellectual Property, Business Law and Technology Committees. Drew is also the past president of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Outside the technology arena, Drew has substantial expertise in both contracts and commercial litigation. In addition, he has experience assisting clients with government contracting. Drew began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Senior United States District Judge John H. Moore II, in Jacksonville, Florida, and then practiced with an AmLaw top 10 firm in Manhattan. After a stint as an assistant county attorney responsible for day-to-day legal advice and litigating civil issues for the county, Drew returned to Lowndes. Drew is admitted to practice in Florida, New York and the District of Columbia.

Born in Florida, Drew roots for his adopted football team—the FSU Seminoles (because neither Rollins nor George Washington has a football team). He is the proud father of two sons who wrestle and play the euphonium, make great grades and generally keep him on his toes.

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