United States President President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order that will tackle four issues that limit competition, raise broadband prices, and reduce choices for internet service, among other areas.
Lack of competition among broadband providers
More than200 million U.S. residents live in an area with only one or two reliable high-speed internet providers, leading to prices as much five times higher in these markets than in markets with more options.
A related problem is landlords and internet service providers entering exclusivity deals or collusive arrangements that leave tenants with only one option. This impacts low-income and marginalized neighborhoods, because landlord-ISP arrangements can effectively block out broadband infrastructure expansion by new providers.
President encourages the FCC to prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), actual prices paid for broadband services can be 40 percent higher than advertised. During the Obama-Biden Administration, the FCC began developing a “Broadband Nutrition Label”— a simple label that provides basic information about the internet service offered so people can compare options. The Trump Administration FCC abandoned those plans.
President encourages the FCC to revive the “Broadband Nutrition Label” and require providers to report prices and subscription rates to the FCC.
If a consumer does find a better internet service deal, they may be unable to actually switch because of high early termination fees — on average nearly $200 — charged by internet providers.
President encourages the FCC to limit excessive early termination fees.
Big providers can use their power to discriminatorily block or slow down online services. The Obama-Biden Administration’s FCC adopted “Net Neutrality” rules that required these companies to treat all internet services equally, but this was undone in 2017.
President encourages the FCC to restore Net Neutrality rules undone by the prior administration.