US President Joe Biden signed an executive order designed to promote competition in the American economy by directing changes at telecom and technology regulators, among a number of other federal agencies.
The order urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restore net neutrality rules it voted to ditch in December 2017 which had prevented operators prioritising traffic carried over their networks.
President Biden also asked the FCC to require ISPs to report their subscription rates and prices to the agency, and share standardised information with consumers about speeds, prices and network management.
He also called for “greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms”. In a fact sheet, the administration characterised some recent deals in the US technology sector as “killer acquisitions”, meant to “shut down a potential competitive threat”.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is tasked with regulating data accumulation and surveillance, with the fact sheet highlighting the ways large online retail platforms can use information collected from smaller retailers to launch competitive products. The executive order instructed the FTC to “establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces”.
President Biden also called on the FTC to tackle the right to repair mobile phones, seeking “rules against anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment”.