The FCC could also use its authority over common carriers to protect consumers by other means. For example, the net neutrality of former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai simultaneously repeals annihilated the Obama-era price transparency rules that Biden wants to bring back.
Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) applauded Biden’s call to restore net neutrality rules. “As soon as there are three Democratic commissioners in place, the FCC must act without delay to reclassify broadband to Title II service and reaffirm its authority over broadband,” said Markey. “I also plan to introduce legislation soon to do the same with the law. We cannot and will not stop working until net neutrality is the law of the land.” The pandemic “highlighted what we already knew: broadband is not a luxury. Like running water and electricity, it is an essential public service that everyone needs,” said Markey.
Cable industry criticizes Biden Order
The cable industry’s main lobby group, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, has slammed Biden’s order.
“We are disappointed that the Executive Order reiterates misleading claims in the broadband market, including the tired and disproved claim that ISPs block or prevent consumers from accessing Internet content of their choice,” the statement said. NCTA. Friday. “America’s broadband networks were the most resilient and critical infrastructure in the country during the pandemic, allowing our economy to continue to function and enabling our citizens to learn, work and stay connected ever since. home security. As policymakers and industry share the goal of connecting every American to robust and reliable broadband service, we hope the administration will put the rhetoric aside and focus on constructive solutions. “
NCTA and the USTelecom lobby group have repeatedly claimed that broadband prices go down. But their claims are based on a “price per megabit” calculation that does not reflect total consumer bills and a “broadband price index” that includes prices for only a few service levels instead of the average or median price. The actual monthly price consumers pay Internet service providers has been increasing much faster than inflation for years.
Municipal broadband plan apparently blocked
Biden first announced his intention to tackle the broadband industry by end of March when he said he would lower prices, end hidden charges and fund municipal broadband networks. Public networks have “less pressure to generate profits and … a commitment to serve entire communities,” Biden noted at the time.
Biden initially offered $ 100 billion in funding, with priority access to public networks, triggering a series of lobbying by AT&T and other ISPs who aim to prevent competition and want broadband money to go only to private companies. Biden ended up making a $ 65 billion deal with Republicans, apparently without any preference for public networks, but this is still being negotiated in Congress.
FCC needs 5th member to “fully function”
Biden will be less directly involved in implementing the measures than he has asked the FCC to tackle because the FCC is an independent agency that doesn’t just do what the president asks. The president appoints the commissioners and chooses the president, so he can choose people who agree with his priorities. But he actually has to pick someone before FCC Democrats can get down to business on anything involving a partisan battle like reclassifying broadband providers as public operators, imposing net neutrality rules. and force ISPs to lower prices and end hidden charges.
“The Executive Order is important, but the processes and staff to advance these priorities are not yet in place… The agency needs a fifth commissioner to fully function,” Matt Wood, vice president of policy and General Counsel of Free Press, said Friday.