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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Federal Communications Commission wants to learn whether deals between landlords and internet service providers raise prices for apartment dwellers as part of the Biden administration's push on increasing competition in the economy.

Why it matters: Despite cities having more competition among broadband providers, those in apartment buildings can be stuck with one provider because of the arrangements.

Driving the news: A senior agency official told Axios the FCC on Tuesday will begin seeking comment on the impact certain practices have on tenants, including:

  • Revenue sharing agreements in which the landlord takes a percentage of the revenue an internet service provider receives, incentivizing the landlord to steer tenants to that provider.
  • Exclusive wiring agreements that involve a landlord saying only one internet provider can use a building's wires to provide service.
  • Exclusive marketing agreements where only one company can market its services in the building.

Between the lines: The FCC already has a rule banning exclusive contracts between landlords and internet providers, but the senior official said that these other practices have the effect of keeping competition out of buildings.

The big picture: The FCC's move is its first step in addressing competition among broadband providers since President Biden signed an executive order on competition. The order urged the agency to begin a rulemaking that would prevent landlords and cable and internet service providers from limiting tenants' choices for service.

  • The new inquiry will lay the groundwork for the agency to potentially impose new rules.

Go deeper

Dec 2, 2021 - Technology

U.K.'s Facebook order could chill tech acquisitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.K.'s move to unwind Facebook's Giphy acquisition raises the prospect of a new world in which many different international regulators can block tech deals.

Why it matters: It's the first time a foreign competition authority has ordered a Big Tech company to sell off an asset.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker