Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy
July 9, 2021
President Biden is taking decisive action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses. This Executive Order established a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy. The Order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy. Once implemented, these initiatives will result in concrete improvements to people’s lives. The Order tackles four issues that limit competition, raise prices, and reduce choices for internet service.
- Lack of competition among broadband providers: More than 200 million U.S. residents live in an area with only one or two reliable high-speed internet providers, leading to prices as much five times higher in these markets than in markets with more options. A related problem is landlords and internet service providers entering exclusivity deals or collusive arrangements that leave tenants with only one option. This impacts low-income and marginalized neighborhoods, because landlord-ISP arrangements can effectively block out broadband infrastructure expansion by new providers. In the Order, the President encourages the FCC to: Prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.
- Lack of price transparency: Even where consumers have options, comparison shopping is hard. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), actual prices paid for broadband services can be 40% higher than advertised. During the Obama-Biden Administration, the FCC began developing a “Broadband Nutrition Label”—a simple label that provides basic information about the internet service offered so people can compare options. The Trump Administration FCC abandoned those plans. In the Order, the President encourages the FCC to: Revive the “Broadband Nutrition Label” and require providers to report prices and subscription rates to the FCC.
- High termination fees: If a consumer does find a better internet service deal, they may be unable to actually switch because of high early termination fees—on average nearly $200—charged by internet providers. In the Order, the President encourages the FCC to: Limit excessive early termination fees.
- Companies discriminatorily slowing down internet access: Big providers can use their power to discriminatorily block or slow down online services. The Obama-Biden Administration’s FCC adopted “Net Neutrality” rules that required these companies to treat all internet services equally, but this was undone in 2017. In the Order, the President encourages the FCC to: Restore Net Neutrality rules undone by the prior administration.
Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy WH Fact Sheet