The lack of affordable broadband access in the U.S. has resulted in large-scale educational inequities especially in rural areas where 31 percent of Americans have no choice of broadband providers. For many years, Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licensees have been dedicated to helping solve these inequities, but a proceeding at the Federal Communications Commission is putting these services at risk.
The purposes of antitrust law can be broad; the mechanism of antitrust is legal. This is the core of Brandeis’s approach—to find enforceable legal standards that identify harmful industrial conduct in a manner that vindicates social and democratic values through the careful delineation of institutional roles. That job was made easier because Louis Brandeis subscribed to the view that these social and democratic values were all threatened by monopoly; thus by focusing on the practicalities of competition, antitrust statutes could advance broader societal interests as well.
Brandeis opposed the trusts because he thought they were bad for individual opportunity and bad for democracy. And he thought Congress is the fulcrum of action because Congress is the political institution that Brandeis believed can – and should – consider broad social and economic issues in shaping the content of antitrust, not antitrust enforcers and not the courts. To me, a critical lesson from Brandeis describes the broad role of legislatures as contrasted to the focused task of antitrust enforcement.