Earlier today, President Biden signed the Decree Promoting Competition in the U.S. Economy, which contained several provisions regarding net neutrality. The former administration FCC and FTC rolled back the rules of the Obama era in these areas, and now there is a clear agenda to restore them.
FCC directives from the order:
(i) the adoption of appropriate “Net Neutrality” rules similar to those previously adopted under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (Public Law 73-416, 48 Stat. 1064, 47 USC 151 et seq.), as amended; by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet”, 80 Fed. Reg. 19738 (April 13, 2015);
(iv) prohibit unfair or unreasonable early termination of end-user communication contracts, enabling consumers to change providers more easily;
(v) the implementation of legislation requiring broadband service providers to display a broadband consumer label, such as that described in the Commission’s official release issued on 4 April 2016 (EN 16-357) to provide consumer clarity, concise and accurate information on provider prices and fees, performance and networking practices;
(vi) implementing legislation requiring broadband service providers to regularly report broadband and subscription rates to the Federal Communications Commission in order to disseminate this information to the public in a useful way to improve price transparency and market functioning; and
(vii) implementing a set of rules to prevent landlords and cable and Internet service providers from impeding tenants’ choice of providers.
The FCC is now tasked with reviving the “Broadband Nutrition Label” that was under development in 2016. The brand would provide a standardized format for providers to display their price, data surcharges and service details similar to the brands you are currently looking at food in. the grocery store.
The FCC has also been asked to begin the process of requiring ISPs to regularly report their prices to the FCC to help “improve price transparency and market performance.” As Multichannel News points out that implementing these changes will require the addition of a third commissioner to the FCC who will vote for these measures and break the current 2-2 draw. Current FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement that “I welcome this effort by the President to strengthen competition in the US economy and in the country’s communications sector.”
Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr is expected to have a no vote on many of these policies, saying this order “seems to double the price controls, government-driven networks and monopoly rules – actions that would only make it harder for smaller providers and new participants to compete. ”
While ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have not yet responded to requests for comment from The edge, the cable industry lobby groups quickly released their own information.
Speaking for a group representing “small and medium-sized cable operators,” President Matthew Polka of the American Communications Association chose to largely ignore everything in the order. Instead, his statement addresses what he sees as a lack of a competitive market for another target, studios and radio stations, in a statement that says “Every day, our members are unfairly geared by big video programmers and radio stations, causing our customers” video rates soar … members fear that dominant internet platforms and powerful streaming services may choose not to make their services available to the subscribers of some smaller ISPs. ”
NCTA counts Comcast, WarnerMedia, Disney, Charter and Cox among its members and is apparently in favor of an “open internet” as long as no one tries to classify broadband as a utility or adopts rules that will ensure it stays that way. The cable industry group issued a statement (without an attached name) saying “we are disappointed that the executive reiterates misleading claims about the broadband market, including the tired and demanding claim that ISPs would block or restrict consumers from accessing Internet content of their choice” . ”
Similarly, CTIA represents the interests of its members’ wireless carriers and opposes the order. In its own statement, the association claims “the highly legislative approach outlined in today’s order unfortunately risks harming consumers by distracting from bipartisan efforts to close the digital divide, hamper new competitive choices and innovation, jeopardize new job creation and unnecessarily risk the future of our nation’s technological leadership. ”
On the other hand, Free Press VP of Politics and Attorney General Matt Wood says “The FCC needs to reverse the damage caused by the Trump administration, which led to rising prices and declining investment in broadband, while pretending that a non- something-deregulatory approach would solve these problems … When the Trump FCC abandoned the right legal framework and policies in 2017, people of every political streak were overwhelmingly against that repeal. When we finally have a fully functioning FCC dedicated to promoting public interest again, the agency can get the job done – by taking the kind of steps outlined in today’s executive order and more. ”