Home / Articles / Common Terms / Cable demarcation point - FCC Sheet Rock Order - 47 CFR 76.5

Cable demarcation point - FCC Sheet Rock Order - 47 CFR 76.5

The cable demarcation point is the point at which responsibility for inside wiring changes from the service provider to the resident-subscriber. In general, wiring on the provider’s side of the demarcation point is the provider’s responsibility, and wiring on the subscriber’s side is the subscriber’s responsibility. In an MDU context, the demarcation point is the point at which a competing service provider can gain access to existing inside wiring to provide service to its subscribers.

The FCC defines the cable demarcation point as “a point at (or about) twelve inches outside of where the cable wire enters the subscriber's dwelling unit, or, where the wire is physically inaccessible at such point, the closest practicable point thereto that does not require access to the individual subscriber's dwelling unit” (47 C.F.R. § 76.5(mm)(2)).

However, MDU owners are reluctant to allow a competitive provider to access the wiring at the 12-inch point due to the disruption caused by drilling through sheet rock in hallways. Therefore, in its “Sheet Rock Order” (Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling (CS Docket No. 95-184, rel. June 8, 2007)), the FCC ruled that wiring behind sheet rock or wall board is “physically inaccessible,” such that the demarcation point is located at the first location, moving away from the subscriber’s unit, where the wiring is accessible. Usually, that location is at the incumbent’s junction box.

This change allows a competitive provider to access existing inside wiring at the lock box and, in some circumstances, to utilize that wiring without the property owner having to invoke the FCC’s inside wiring rules.

Furthermore, the incumbent cable provider has a legal obligation under FCC regulations to take affirmative steps to facilitate an alternative video provider’s access to wiring at the demarcation point. Therefore (assuming that the wiring is behind sheet rock at the 12-inch mark), the incumbent cable operator is prohibited by FCC regulations from blocking a competitor’s access to the cable home wiring at the point where the wiring terminates at the incumbent’s junction box.


"Our 399 unit condo decided to move from a bulk cable service contract to a competitive cable service environment. Carl helped us manage the complicated process of terminating the multiyear bulk contract ...


 MBC logo Final jpeg

Member, Board of Directors
Multifamily Broadband Council (MBC) 

In wake of the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry called Improving Competitive Broadband Access to Multiple Tenant Environments, competitive access to multi-tenant properties is again a burning public policy issue. We intend to summarize the controversy in a series of blog entries in the coming weeks.

Recent Articles

FCC Proposed Expansion Of the OTARD Rule

Providers should explore the possible implications of the rule change and share comments with the ... MORE

Question of the Day

Contact Info

Carl Kandutsch Law Office
2520 Avenue K, Suite 700/760
Plano, Texas 75074
Telephone: (214) 427-5354
Mobile: (207) 659-6247

Connect with me on linkedin_icon twitter_sm


The Kandutsch Law Office has been selected by Broadband Communities Magazine as one of the nation's "Top 100 Technology Providers" for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015   

summary_icon Click Here For a Free Comprehensive Executive Summary

©2014 Carl Kandutsch Law Office
Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy
Attorney Website Design by The Modern Firm