In a decision that is expected to have national implications, the state of Massachusetts ruled that regulations giving telecommunications service providers mandatory access to apartments and office buildings are unconstitutional.
Suffolk County, Mass. Superior Court Justice Mitchell J. Sikora ruled that the state’s regulations governing how building owners should manage and provide telecommunications access to their buildings constituted an impermissible taking of property without just compensation.
Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., the judge noted that, “perhaps the most serious invasion of an owner’s property interests…occurs in the circumstances in which a third party is authorized to use and obtain profits from the landowners property without just compensation….”
The forced telecom issue arose from the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy’s rules governing the terms and conditions under which building owners provide access to privately-owned buildings for telecom service providers. Plaintiffs in the case were led by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, and were joined and assisted by the Real Estate Alliance.