Biden gives the US more competition and a right to repair

Net neutrality, price transparency and the breaking up of market concentrations should help to revive competition in the USA. The plant is primarily targeting tech companies.

The technology sector is increasingly dominated by only a few large players. Amongst other things Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are now the focus of a presidential directive. The Executive Order essentially means that the federal government makes the fight against market dominance a priority. The document covers a wide range of economic topics. It starts with international trade, continues through the rights of farm workers to Internet providers, the pharmaceutical industry and big tech.

Monopolies multiply profits, wages fall

The increasing concentration in certain markets makes many products more expensive, curbs innovation and puts pressure on wages to the detriment of the working population. In more than 75 percent of the industries, a small number of corporations determine the business. While they generated three times as much revenue, US wages fell 17 percent over the same period, notes the regulation leaflet. In addition to the general appeal to the authorities to vigorously enforce the existing competition rules, Biden has formulated 72 specific individual orders for them. This includes regulations in the medical, aviation and agricultural sectors.

Establishing net neutrality – focus on providers

First of all, the responsible agency FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is supposed to be the Net neutrality restore – the relevant set of rules had been withdrawn by the Trump administration. Biden continued to urge the agency to promote price transparency and competition in the broadband sector. Contracts and secret agreements between landlords and providers increasingly restricted freedom of choice. The paper also states that in many regions individual providers dictate prices. They are up to five times as high there as in areas with competitors. This also hampers broadband expansion. The government continues to urge the FCC to take action against misleading promotional prices, hidden fees and switching costs.

Regulate monopolies to protect consumers

In addition to many sidelines, a key aspect of the disposition is the intensive regulation of tech companies. The focus is on acquisitions that are only aimed at eliminating young competitors. The directive mentions that platform operators copy the offers of smaller providers in order to outmaneuver them. To back up his cause, Biden appointed big tech critic Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The authority has tasks in the area of ​​antitrust. and competition law as well as consumer protection. It should exercise stronger merger control, “especially of dominant Internet platforms with special attention to the takeover of emerging competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition through” free “products and the effects on the privacy of users.” Also on The agenda includes contractual non-compete obligations – for example in employment contracts. The order also encourages the independent agency to formulate new rules governing the collection and use of personal information. A few hours after the executive order was published, the FTC released a statement from the new chairmen. In it, Khan announced that he would review and possibly revise merger guidelines. This is in line with politics, the greater review of mergers, “especially of dominant Internet platforms”. The FTC is already working on new data protection laws.

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Establish the right to repair

As has already been announced, concerns another Order the right to repair. Cell phone manufacturers and other tech companies as well as tractor manufacturers have restricted self-repairs and third-party repairs through an exclusive sale of parts, diagnostic devices and tools. The FTC should put rules in place to curb these practices so that consumers can repair their devices on their own terms.

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Categories:   General