The Internet Needs Fair Rules of the Road – and Competitive Drivers

In the past few weeks, the Biden Administration has finally moved forward with nominations to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. One of those nominees, Gigi Sohn (who, fair disclosure, has been an EFF board member), is testifying right now, and we expect a vote on all of the nominees soon.

As the agencies moves forward, fully staffed at last, we hope they will both recognize the role they can play in promoting net neutrality – meaning, in preventing ISPs from taking advantage of their effective gatekeeping roles to favor some services over others. Most people think of net neutrality as the province of the FCC, at least at the federal level. But that view loses sight of a prior problem: lack of competition in the ISP space. U.S. residents pay more than most of our peers around the world for internet access—and get less for our money. One reason for that is that roughly half of us have no choice when it comes to broadband access. Our providers have no incentive to do better. And that, in turn, is one reason we need net neutrality rules.

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