Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



July 9, 2021

Senators Duff, Maroney, E&T Leadership Praise Biden Executive Order Holding Big Tech, Internet Providers Accountable for Business Practices

Executive order, to be signed Friday, reinstates net neutrality standards among other advances

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) and State Representative David Arconti (D-Danbury) and State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), Chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee, today praised the announcement that President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Friday aimed at increasing competition in many industries, most prominently for broadband service providers and large technology companies. Among other things, the executive order encourages a “nutrition label” of sorts for internet service providers and calls for the restriction of early termination fees, as well as internet exclusivity deals limiting customers’ options in apartment buildings and other rental units.

“The President’s action today is welcome and valuable for the many Americans who struggle under the lack of competition in the broadband market, as well as those ready to take advantage of a more competitive climate in several industries,” said Sen. Duff. “Taking action against punitive early termination fees, controlling exclusivity deals and providing more information to the consumer is a win for paying customers everywhere in America, including in our state. Restoration of net neutrality standards and stronger scrutiny of steps used to quash competition and fight corporate consolidation will only go further to create a more equal playing field and a stronger market nationwide. However, the President’s actions can only go so far. Congress needs to take action to support this order, and if they cannot, regulatory authority should be returned to individual states.”

“When we’ve seen multiple instances just this year of internet service providers taking advantage of a lack of regulations and a lack of true competition, it’s heartening to see this executive order put into action,” said Sen. Maroney. “I’m especially encouraged that the order aims to create new rules on data collection, helping keep users’ information private. We attempted to pass similar legislation here in Connecticut earlier this year, and will continue fighting for consumer rights. Having the executive branch’s support for the ‘right-to-repair,’ for increased competition in the internet service provider industry and to fight the trend of corporate consolidation will further strengthen our abilities to enact more policies to drive down prices and make services accessible for more state residents. It will remain important for us to continue pursuing legislation to protect consumer privacy here in Connecticut, allowing the Attorney General the ability to seek recourse for state residents.”

“Increasing competition in these industries is the right call, and we support President Biden’s action today,” said Rep. Arconti and Sen. Needleman. “This executive order aims to fight significant corporate consolidation that has only harmed the public, raising costs and reducing options for everyday consumers. We look forward to seeing how this order helps even the playing field.”

The executive order signed today by President Biden will take action in a variety of forms, including encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to reintroduce an internet service provider “nutrition label” to provide customers direct information about provider services; restrict early termination fees; and ban exclusivity deals limiting apartment buildings to having only one internet provider. The FCC will further be asked to restore net neutrality rules for broadband companies and create stronger rules on data collection and preventing unfair competition in online marketplaces.

Further steps announced include efforts to scrutinize corporate mergers more heavily, specifically to fight “killer acquisitions” that target companies’ competitors like Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp; support for independent technology repairs; focus on reducing non-compete agreements and unnecessary occupational licensing agreements; and allowing states to potentially import drugs from Canada to lower health care costs.