Earlier today, President Biden signed the Order on Promoting Competition in the U.S. Economy, which contained several provisions relating to net neutrality. The previous administration’s FCC and FTC overturned Obama-era rules in these areas, and there is now a clear program to restore them.
FCC guidelines for order:
(i) adopt through appropriate regulation “network 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 charges for end-user communications contracts, making it easier for consumers to switch providers;
(v) initiate regulations that require broadband service providers to display a broadband consumer label, such as that described in the Commission’s public notice published on April 4, 2016 (DA 16-357), in order to to clearly indicate to consumers, concise and precise information concerning the prices and the expenses of the suppliers, the performances and the practices of the network;
(vi) initiate regulation to require broadband service providers to regularly report prices and subscription rates to the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of disseminating this information to the public in a meaningful way, in order to improve price transparency and the functioning of the market; and
(vii) initiate regulation to prevent owners and providers of cable and Internet services from impeding the choice of tenants among providers.
The FCC is now tasked with relaunching the “broadband nutrition label” which was under development in 2016. The label would provide a standardized format for suppliers to display their price, authorized data and performance details, similar to labels you currently see on foods. at the grocery store.
The FCC was also urged to initiate the process requiring ISPs to regularly report their prices to the FCC in order to help “improve price transparency and the functioning of the market”. As Multichannel news points out that implementing these changes will require the addition of a third FCC commissioner who will vote in favor of the measures, breaking the current 2-2 tie. Current FCC Acting President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement, “I applaud this President’s effort to strengthen competition in the US economy and the country’s communications industry.”
One would expect Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to vote no on many of these policies, and say the order “appears to double price controls, government-run networks and regulations. monopoly type – actions that would only make it more difficult for small suppliers and new entrants to compete.
While ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have yet to respond to requests for comment from The edge, cable industry lobby groups quickly publish their own information.
Speaking on behalf of a group that represents “small and medium-sized cable operators,” American Communications Association president Matthew Polka has chosen to largely ignore everything in order. Instead, his statement targets what he sees as a lack of a competitive market for another target, studios and broadcast stations, in a statement that says “Every day our members are unfairly exploited by great programmers. video and broadcast station groups, causing video tariffs to skyrocket… members fear that dominant internet platforms and powerful streaming services are choosing not to make their services available to subscribers of some smaller ISPs.
The NCTA counts Comcast, WarnerMedia, Disney, Charter and Cox among its members and is openly in favor of an “open Internet”, as long as no one tries to classify broadband as a public service or adopts rules that would ensure that it remains. path. The cable industry group released a statement (no name attached) that said “We are disappointed that the Executive Order rehashes misleading claims about the broadband market, including the tired and disproved claim that ISPs block or prevent consumers from accessing Internet content of their choice.
Likewise, CTIA represents the interests of its member wireless operators and speaks out against the ordinance. In its own statement, the association asserts that “the highly regulatory approach described in today’s decree unfortunately risks harming consumers by diverting attention from bipartisan efforts to bridge the digital divide, preventing new ones. competitive choices and innovation, compromising job creation and unnecessarily risking the future of our country. technological leadership.
On the other hand, Free Press Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood said, “The FCC must repair the damage caused by the Trump administration, which has presided over the price hikes and the falling investment in broadband while claiming that a do nothing deregulation approach will solve these problems … When the Trump FCC abandoned the appropriate legal framework and policies in 2017, people of all political stripes overwhelmed opposed to this repeal. When we finally have a full and functioning FCC dedicated to promoting the public interest again, the agency can get the job done – taking the actions outlined in today’s executive order and more.