COMPETE: FCC gets it

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In my opinion, we need competition across state lines for internet, cable access and health care; no more artificial territories protecting companies.

If companies want to play, then compete. Only then will consumers be free to pick and choose from multiple options.

Home Depot has to compete with Lowe’s in all states. They don’t each carve their own territory to charge whatever they want with no options for consumers.

The FCC’s plan ensures that robust open-internet protections are in place.

Here are just four of them, by Branden Carr, a commissioner on the FCC:

First, the FCC’s decision will bring additional consumer protections to bear, ones we do not enjoy under the current regulatory regime.

When the FCC took the unprecedented step of applying Title II regulations to the internet in 2015, it completely stripped the nation’s premier consumer protection agency — the Federal Trade Commission — of its authority to protect consumers from ISPs.

Second, strong consumer privacy and data security protections will apply. Since the FCC’s Title II decision, the FTC — which is also the nation’s most experienced privacy enforcement agency — has been prohibited from taking any action regarding the privacy or data security practices of ISPs.

Third, federal antitrust laws will apply. Section 1 of the Sherman Act renders anticompetitive agreements illegal. So, if ISPs reached agreements to act in a non-neutral manner by unfairly blocking, throttling or discriminating against traffic, those agreements would be per se unlawful.

Fourth, state consumer-protection laws will continue to apply and state attorneys general can bring actions against ISPs.

RUSSELL DiBIASE

Hayden

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