Biden’s New Net Neutrality Rules Don’t Prevent Anti-Competitive “Fast Lanes”

One of the key reasons the net neutrality fight even became a thing was widespread concern that big ISPs would abuse their power to behave anti-competitively, picking winners and losers across the internet ecosystem, and nickel-and-diming consumers in a variety of obnoxiously creative ways.

Verizon, for example, charges you extra if you want 4K video to work properly. T-Mobile spent years letting some key partners and services (namely large companies) bypass usage caps and network throttling restrictions. It’s not complicated: these kinds of gatekeeper decisions give historically unpopular telecoms power they shouldn’t have under the principle of an open, competitive internet.

We’ve noted how the Biden FCC will vote on April 25 to restore popular net neutrality rules stripped away during the Trump administration. Though we’ve also indicated there are some concerns among experts that the rules may wind up being weaker than the original 2015 edition.

Stanford law professor and net neutrality expert Barbara van Schewick has written a blog post noting that while the Rosenworcel FCC has shored up some concerns on this front (the FCC’s rules won’t “pre-empt” tougher California rules, for example), there’s still room for concern. Most notably surrounding the new rules’ treatment of so-called “fast lanes”