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BROADBAND TALK by Morgan Fussell

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BROADBAND TALK by Morgan Fussell

Telecommunication access and marketing agreements for your community How has the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) issued Order > FCC 07-189 Announcement > Kevin J. Martin Statement banning exclusivity clauses for the provision of video services to condominium associations and other qualifying multiple dwelling units made an effect on “video choice” and “profit sharing” for your community? Ending this monopolistic practice by cable providers was designed to create new service options for your residents. However, many have found that some corporate telecom attorneys’ have responded with very well written agreements that can often times continue to handcuff “video choice”. With this said, before signing or renewing an agreement with a cable, telephone or satellite company, you should do your best to evaluate all your options. You should assess your service needs and clearly understand all known options during your decision making process. You need to know a few things like: Where is my agreement? Do I understand the language? Is the agreement the most current agreement? Do I have agreements with more than one provider? Can the telephone company provide video to my community, will a one satellite dish per building “bulk” solution work for my community?

New service options for your community may now exist that were not permissible prior to the FCC Order. This FCC Order may have an impact on your current agreements, even if they have not yet expired or are not due to expire in the near future! Your community may have options to bring in more than one provider for video services, offering more choice and selection for your residents. Local, State and Federal Regulations are ever changing. Therefore, conducting research on all providers in your market and the types and levels of service they can provide often pays dividends with resident satisfaction, increasing incremental cash flow and savings. Making the right move with video providers will increase Net Operating Income (NOI) for your community!

Bottom line, if you combine new emerging technologies with increased competition and recent regulatory changes, your community may now have more choices than ever. Never assume that the "renewal" options offered by your local cable television or phone company provider are your only options. Your community is very important to cable, satellite and telephone providers. They ALL want to earn your business and they all have a different story to tell. Auditing your current agreements and determining your position in advance of negotiations is critical in maximizing your NOI for your community. Acting too quickly, not at all and without guidance is a recipe for lost revenue opportunities and more importantly, limiting “video choice” for your community. Don’t fall for tactics such as, “we need current agreements for our insurance needs” or “we want to ensure your residents will continue to receive our services”. I have never seen a provider “pull the plug” because there was not a current agreement on file. Remember, their subscribers are your residents and you need to make the best choice for your community. Access to your community by a cable, telephone or satellite company is crucial to their cash flow. These companies are all publically held and subscriber counts tie directly to profits, stockholders and executive bonuses.

Telecommunications companies are providing their services to your communities and operating on private property for a profit. Not signing an agreement leaves all the profit to the provider. It is import to consult the proper industry professional to determine the appropriate “profit sharing” arrangement.

The comments and analysis provided in this article are for information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In addition, it is important that your association or company review any and all agreements with qualified legal counsel for an accurate and legally reliable evaluation of rights and obligations.

BIO Morgan Fussell is the Founder & CEO of MORGAN FUSSELL CONSULTING, Inc. Morgan’s company launched in 2009 and operates nationally. Their specialty is auditing and negotiating video, Internet and telephone right of entry, marketing, access and easement agreements for property owners, management companies, associations and legal counsel. With over 25 years of experience, knowledge and contacts in the industry, Morgan and his team navigate their clients through recent Federal Law changes and explain the new competitive environment. His team’s expert knowledge provides his clients savings and increased income or they are not compensated. Contact Morgan at: morgan@morganfussell.com or visit www.morganfussell.com