Biden Executive Order Aims To Revive Net Neutrality, Limit ISP Restrictive Nonsense
President Joe Biden will sign an executive order this weekend calling for the Federal Communications Commission to restore net neutrality while targeting Big Tech, internet service providers, and Silicon Valley.
According to CNN, the wide-sweeping executive order will do a number of things. This includes encouraging the use of a ” broadband nutrition label” for ISPs to clarify the provider’s services (like how much subscription rates are and sharing those findings with the FCC) and scrutinizing mergers more heavily to prevent “killer acquisitions” (such as Facebook’s buyout of Instagram and WhatsApp). Among the policy’s changes is the restoration of various net neutrality rules for ISPs.
The executive order also encourages the FCC to prohibit internet companies from blocking, slowing, or speeding up certain websites, rules that were set in place during the Obama administration but reversed under Trump’s presidency (Former FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who led the agency during the period, resigned before Joe Biden took office earlier this year.) An attempt to restore net neutrality would likely lead to a legal fight, so it’s unclear if or when these changes would be made.
Even still, this could be good news for gamers. ISPs like Comcast and Verizon, under this new executive order, would be unable to sideline some websites in favor of others. Internet companies should no longer have the legal capacity to send some content and websites into “fast lanes.”
The executive order will also tackle ISP monopolies, where approximately 200 million people in the US must choose between just one or two providers. Some tenets in complexes like apartments are forced to sign up with a provider because of exclusive deals between landlords and ISPs. This causes excessive price gouging, with low-income and marginalized communities paying as much as five times more than markets where internet service provider options are plentiful. The executive order seeks to prevent these exploitations while calling for greater transparency in price comparison between ISPs (so consumers can shop confidently) and the elimination of high termination fees.
Elsewhere in the wide-sweeping executive order, Biden seeks to ease the rules against restricting consumers from repairing their own devices either through a licensed repair shop or via DIY efforts.
The executive order doesn’t just tackle internet and technology issues either. It calls for changes in agriculture, health care (to decrease the price of prescription drugs), shipping, and transportation. You can read more about the executive order via a fact sheet on the White House’s website.
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