Executive Order taking on monopolies is a great start. But the Biden admin needs to nominate a 5th FCC commissioner to restore net neutrality

Posted July 9, 2021, 4:17 PM

This morning, President Joe Biden released an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Fight for the Future released the following statement, which can be attributed to Evan Greer, Director (she/her):

There’s a lot of stuff to love in this Executive Order, unless you’re the CEO of a corporate monopoly. It’s great to see the administration pushing for FTC rules to address corporate surveillance, acknowledging that data harvesting and abuse is what fuels the monopoly power of Big Tech giants like Amazon. We’re also encouraged to see the White House supporting "right to repair" rules, which are crucial for consumer and human rights, important for many members of the disabled community, and strike back at the overly restrictive and monopolistic practices of companies like Apple. 

The Executive Order also urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reinstate net neutrality protections that were repealed by Ajit Pai, and take aim at other unfair ISP practices like high termination fees and monopoly deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices. But the Biden administration knows full well that none of this can happen until they nominate a fifth commissioner to the FCC. So, what’s the hold up?

Ever since Trump and Mitch McConnell rammed through the nomination of Nathan Simington, the FCC has been deadlocked––and largely unable to do anything to address the vast injustices in broadband access exposed by the pandemic. The Executive Order has a lot of great words, but we need to see some action for those words to mean anything. To achieve many of the goals laid out in this order, the Biden administration needs to move quickly to nominate a fifth FCC commissioner who doesn’t have ties to the telecom industry and will stand up to the ISPs, who supports reinstating net neutrality, and who will expand broadband access for everyone. 

Millions of people from across the political spectrum have been calling for years for net neutrality to be restored. Every day that the Biden administration delays this nomination is another day that vulnerable communities have almost no protection from exploitative telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.