Building Owner & Tenant Resources

Wired up mother board

Multi-Dwelling Unit buildings (MDUs) Project

Like residents in single family homes, MDU residents want access to competitive, high-speed broadband. A 2017 review of the state of internet services provided to Seattle's Multi-dwelling unit buildings (MDUs) - apartments and condominiums - found that 66% of MDU residents said it was very important to have a choice in broadband providers. But access to competitive, high speed options is often limited - by older building wiring or a new building's lack of telecommunication infrastructure capacity. A lack of broadband planning can also lead to new buildings constructed with infrastructure insufficient to meet the future needs of residents. 

The Build For Broadband B4B-Tip 6000 was developed by the City and broadband service providers (ISPs) working together to recommend steps all projects should follow to plan exterior broadband service connections when constructing new MDUs.

The primary broadband planning step - for a new build or major remodel - is to engage ISPs and plan for the exterior connectivity to your building. To ensure your MDU will be broadband ready when residents move in:

  • Determine which providers can serve the property.
  • Don't assume an ISP can serve your building.
  • Contact ISPs early, at the same time you reach out to other utilities.
  • Plan to install separate conduit for multiple ISPs to increase competitive options at your building.
  • Arrange for ISPs to install when ground work is being done.

For more guidance on how to approach this early planning, and for helpful ISP contact information read the full B4B-Tip 6000.  

Also click here to watch the City's 2018 Forum on MDU Internet Access for Property Owners and Managers which includes presentations on the best practices for allowing multiple internet service providers (ISPs) to serve MDU residential buildings.

The 2017 survey results used in the City's review are available here.


Do you live in an apartment or condominium and want to have a cable or broadband option that isn't available? Your first step is to let your landlord or condo association know. They may not be aware that you would like more cable or broadband service options.

Whether the landlord/condo association can accommodate your request depends on two primary things:

1. Can your building wiring handle more than one service provider?

  • Many older buildings are limited from having more than one service provider by the quality of the internal wiring and/or the size of the telecommunications room.

2. Does you building owner or condo assoication have an existing contract with a cable operator?

  • The service contracts your landlord/condo association makes with cable providers may also affect which provider is serving the building.
  • If your landlord/condo association say an existing contract is preventing them from letting another cable operator for serving the building, ask them to review the contract to confirm the limitation. 
  • Your landlord might think they can’t allow another provider into the building because the contract includes an “exclusivity clause.”  However, in 2007 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared such clauses to be unenforceable. The FCC's action nullified existing exclusive deals between cable companies and MDUs and banned any such clauses going forward, calling them unfair competition. 

Satellite TV Options

Do you want to consider using satellite or antenna TV as an option, but your building owner says that satellite dishes or antenna aren't allowed on the building? You may still be able to have that option.  Under federal law, you have the right to install "Over-the-Air-Reception Devices" (OTARD) as long as it is in an area that is for your exclusive use (like a patio) and completely contained in the exclusive use area (e.g, can't hang out over the edge). 

For more information, see the FCC's Consumer Guide covering tenant rights to install, maintain or use OTARD devices.

Building Owners

Know Your Rights When Negotiating Cable Service Contracts

Building Owners ~ Property Managers ~ HOA Members

On April 27, 2015, the City hosted nationally recognized cable and telecommunications expert Ken Fellman for an educational seminar on the rights of building owners, property managers and homeowners association members when negotiating cable service contracts for their buildings.

The seminar covered new language in Seattle's Cable Code that relates to service for multiple dwelling unit buildings and helped answer questions like:

  • What happens when your current cable contract expires?
  • How are service contracts and right-of-entry agreements different?
  • Do you have to sign a long-term cable service agreement?
  • Can you negotiate with the cable operator?
  • Who really owns the cable wiring in your building?

Click here to watch the seminar or to view the presentation slides. Click here to listen to a podcast.

Information Technology

Rob Lloyd, Interim Chief Technology Officer
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2700, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94709, Seattle, WA, 98124-4709
Phone: (206) 684-0600
Phone Alt: Cable TV & Internet Discount Information: (206) 684-8498

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