Can Mgmt. Dictate Who Provides Internet Service?

baygrrlMay 31, 2010

Good evening,

I recently moved to a new (different) complex. Found out when signing the lease that the management here forbids the internet provider I had been using (SBC aka AT&T); they said something about SBC having messed up the lines in their phone room in the past, so they no longer allow them on the property. The manager also told me that if I plugged in my computer and it worked on SBC, then that was ok.

1. I'm confused. If they don't allow SBC on the premises, how do I get SBC service? I've had SBC DSL in the last 2 apartments I've lived in, and nobody had to come to my apartment to do anything with the lines -- don't know if they had to do something elsewhere on the property though?

2. Is it legal for the complex (or manager) to dictate who does (or doesn't) provide internet service? Where would I go to file a complaint?

I have Comcast at the moment, but haven't yet given up my SBC account (and beloved email addresses).

I'm in California if that matters. Thanks!

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I think the owner of the building can dictate what utility companies can come in. Since installing cable can mean drilling holes in walls, running cable, etc., the owner does have a right to say what goes on in his/her building.

It's an interesting question--most utilities have only one provider in a given area--there's one electric company, one gas company, and so forth. Only recently in my area have there been competing cable companies, and so the question of wanting a service that the building isn't wired for hasn't come up in my building.

I'm guessing, with the SBC question, that some of the apartments are still wired for SBC. If that's the case and you are in one of those apartments, you might be able to get SBC DSL. But that's a guess.

It's worth a call to SBC to see if they can provide you with service without having to install any wires or cables. If they can, your landlord should be willing to allow you to use SBC, since they would not be disturbing anything in the phone room.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:03PM
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I have AT&T/SBC and my fax machine does not function with their phone/TV/DSL package. Not sure why, but it's a known issue. I had to turn off the voicemail feature in order to be able to auto send and receive faxes. Otherwise I'd have to stand there and go through several steps to manually receive a fax, including knowing when it was coming in and being at the machine waiting for it. I have just a small home office, for a larger busier office that would really interfere with their day to day activities. So maybe they were experiencing similar issues.

Also, there are cables coming into our house. They hook up to a main gateway for the internet and primary PC is hooked up to that. Any secondary PCs or laptops are on a wireless network. A complex would probably have to have wiring/cables coming in at some location, then perhaps each unit could be part of a wireless network (much like hotels or hospitals now offer). So I don't see how you'd be able to just luck out and get SBC service without those cables coming into the building somewhere.

I had to consult our atty once about a satellite dish issue. Installed on a rental house roof without asking, it was a poor install job & created issues with the roof. Our atty said under FCC regulations as a LL I cannot prohibit the use of a satellite dish (because it would be illegal for me to prohibit others from access to various forms of that type communication, such as TV, radio, internet, etc.) However I can stipulate that it's not to be installed on any of our buildings. So in that situation installation on a pole or fence post is acceptable, but not on any roof or building in order to prevent structural damage from poor installation. My point is even tho I was advised LLs can't block communication services like TV, Internet or radio, LL's can put restrictions on installation if it compromises structural integrity. So in your scenario it might well be they can't block internet altogether (and they aren't), but they can prevent use of a provider that impedes the daily & necessary functions of their office.

It would take an attorney to elaborate more on that.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:11PM
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my apartment you can use any service as long as they do not attach a dish to any part of their building

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 6:05PM
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You are allowed to attach a DISH if it's on your own patio or terrace. You also are allowed to choose your own ISP. See the link below. There was a also a link from DISH which showed even more specific rules and placement locations but I cannot find it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dish rules

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 2:21AM
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Baygrrl, just call SBC and ask for service. Simple. As your LL has already said, SBC has done work on the building in the past, so if it works for your unit fine. The LL said (s)he has no problem with that. SBC will be able to tell you if you can get it or not.

If your unit is not wired for it, you may be able to get OTA service from them to your unit since the building itself does have lines coming in already.

The only way to find out is to contact SBC and see what they say. You may get it with no problem. Or you may not be able to get it since the LL no longer allows them to work on the building. No one here will know.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 8:13PM
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