Biden’s telecom platform hardens around net neutrality, universal broadband, 5G funding
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has been slowly firming up his positions on hot-button telecom issues, a noteworthy development in light of polls showing him gaining significant ground on President Trump.
While much can happen between now and November, when the US will hold its presidential election, it’s worth taking a look at Biden’s latest comments on major telecom topics.
The most noteworthy development in Biden’s telecom platform is his support for net neutrality. As noted by Multichannel News, Biden’s new position was rolled out ahead of next month’s Democratic National Convention via a joint document issued by Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who Biden beat for the party’s nomination.
The document states that the FCC should “take strong enforcement action against broadband providers who violate net neutrality principles through blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or other measures that create artificial scarcity and raise consumer prices.”
That position puts Biden in direct opposition to Trump. One of the first acts by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai – a Trump appointee – was to rescind the agency’s net neutrality guidelines established under its previous chairman, an appointee of former President Obama (Biden was Obama’s VP).
Interestingly, the Wall Street analysts at New Street Research wrote in a note to investors that the Biden-Sanders document is “not binding on Biden as president” but that it does provide a “useful map” to how a Biden administration could approach such issues.
And the Wall Street analysts at Evercore wrote in a note to investors that Biden would likely appoint Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the FCC’s two current Democratic commissioners, to head up the FCC if he is elected president.
“As millions of Americans have stayed at home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is plain to see that in the 21st century, the Internet is not optional: It is a vital tool for participating in the economy, and all Americans need access to high-speed, affordable broadband service,” the Biden-Sanders document argues.
Of course, Biden isn’t the first lawmaker to make that argument. “Just as the Great Depression made clear to all that electricity was the ‘next greatest thing’ in the 20th century, the coronavirus pandemic is making clear to all that broadband is the ‘next next greatest thing’ in the 21st century,” said House Majority Whip James Clyburn in a press release announcing the House Democratic “Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet.”
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