Updated Jul 9, 2021 - Technology

Biden takes aim at Big Tech, broadband with sweeping competition order

Illustration of the White House with a WiFi symbol above the building.
Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

President Biden is setting the federal government's sights on the power of Big Tech and Big Telecom in a competition order that will urge more regulation and enforcement against the sectors.

The big picture: The new executive order, expected to be signed Friday, includes over 70 initiatives aimed at promoting competition in areas of the economy the Biden administration finds a troubling amount of concentration — including technology markets.

Details: According to a White House fact sheet, the order takes aim at Big Tech by ...

  • Encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to adopt new rules on the accumulation of personal data, and banning unfair methods of competition on online marketplaces (with the White House calling out platforms' developing copycat products to compete with small business).
  • Adopting a policy of giving greater scrutiny to mergers by dominant online platforms, focusing on those involving smaller competitors, "serial mergers," data accumulation, the effect on privacy and competition of free products.

The White House also wants internet service providers to offer a "broadband nutrition label" detailing their internet packages to give consumers more transparency when they're buying service.

  • The executive order will encourage the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules prohibiting the blocking, throttling or paid prioritization of web traffic that were repealed by President Trump's FCC.
  • Other initiatives meant to save consumers money on their internet bills includes banning "excessive" early termination fees and ending exclusivity arrangements in apartment buildings in which landlords give tenants only one option for an internet provider.

Flashback: Both net neutrality and the broadband labels were policy proposals spearheaded by the FCC under President Obama.

What's next: Biden will give remarks about the executive order at a signing ceremony Friday afternoon, according to the White House.

  • FCC commissioners were among those invited to attend the event.

Go deeper: More highlights from the order

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional details from the White House on the executive order.

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