Home / Articles / Common Terms / Cable Mandatory Access Law

Cable Mandatory Access Law

19 States have enacted “Mandatory Access” statutes. In addition, and indeterminate number of local ordinances (for example, the City of Los Angeles, California) include Mandatory Access provisions. Providers and MDU owners are strongly advised to educate themselves concerning the meaning of any applicable Mandatory Access law affecting the owner’s legal rights.

In general, a Mandatory Access law includes, at a minimum, a prohibition on MDU owner blocking or restricting the ability of a franchised cable operator (including both traditional cable operators and telephone companies that have been awarded a video franchise) to provide cable service to residents of an MDU building.

As a typical (bare-bones) example, West Virginia Statutes § 24D-2-3 provides (in relevant part):

(a)  A landlord may not:

(1)  Interfere with the installation, maintenance, operation or removal of cable television facilities upon his property or multiple dwelling premises…

(2)  Demand or accept any payment from any tenant, in any form, in exchange for permitting cable television service on or within his property or multiple dwelling premises, or from any cable operator in exchange therefor except as may be determined to be just compensation in accordance with this article;

(3)  Discriminate in rental charges, or otherwise, between tenants who receive cable television service and those who do not.

The statute applies only to “cable operators” as defined by Federal law – that is, video service providers that utilize public rights-of-way.  This statute does not say or imply that the cable operator has a legal right to access or utilize any wiring or other infrastructure that belongs to the MDU owner; nor does the statute give the cable operator any on-site marketing rights, bulk service rights or any other right typically negotiated by the property owner in an access agreement with a cable operator.


"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