Brent Skorup

Brent Skorup

  • Research Fellow

Brent Skorup is a research fellow in the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research topics include wireless policy, new media regulation, competition, and telecommunications.

He has authored pieces for law reviews, The New York TimesThe Chicago Tribune, WIRED, Reuters, and elsewhere. He has provided expert commentary for news outlets including C-SPAN, NPR, CBS, CNBC Asia, The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed.

Brent has a BA in economics from Wheaton College and a JD from the George Mason University School of Law. He was formerly the Director of Research at the Information Economy Project, a law and economics research center.

Published Research

Adam Thierer, Brent Skorup | Apr 29, 2014
The television distribution marketplace has been substantially regulated since the advent of broadcast television in the 1940s and 1950s. The Federal Communications Commission and Congress have relied on several justifications for the regulatory protection of the system of local broadcasters envisioned post–World War II, namely, (1) universal service, (2) localism, (3) free television, and (4) competition.
Brent Skorup | Jan 01, 2014
Describing the U.S. system of spectrum allocation, former Federal Communications Commission officials Gerald Faulhaber and David Farber have written, “[the] current system is similar to that of the former Soviet Union’s GOSPLAn agency, which allocated scarce resources by administrative fiat at among factories and other producers in the Soviet economy.” the U.S. spectrum regulatory framework, still largely intact since 1927, severely distorts the 21st century technology industry and harms consumers with higher prices and lack of choice.
Brent Skorup | Jan 01, 2014
As in many countries, the U.S. government possesses a majority of the most valuable radio spectrum and pays virtually nothing for this natural resource. Audits by the Government Accountability Office and independent groups have made clear that federal spectrum is used ineffectively and that reforms are long overdue.
Brent Skorup | Oct 01, 2013
With the popularity of smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices that require as an input transmissions over radio spectrum, the rising demand for bandwidth is rapidly using up the available supply of spectrum. Spectrum demand increases significantly every year with no end in sight, yet the “greenfields” of available and unallocated spectrum are gone.

Working Papers


Testimony & Comments

Brent Skorup | Jan 22, 2015
The focus of the committee’s white paper on how to “foster” various television distributors, while understandable, was nonetheless misguided. Such an inquiry will likely lead to harmful rules that favor some companies and programmers over others, based on political whims. Congress and the FCC should get out of “fostering” the video distribution markets completely. A light-touch regulatory approach will prevent the damaging effects of lobbying for privilege and will ensure the primacy of consumer choice.
Brent Skorup | Sep 15, 2014
Though an effective rallying cry, there is no consensus about what “net neutrality” or the “open Internet” means when it comes to putting rules on paper. Professor Barbara van Schewick has said, “If there is no rule against blocking in a proposal, it’s not a network neutrality proposal.
Brent Skorup | Jul 24, 2014
From time to time the FCC must reexamine the justifications for its rules. In light of the many industry changes since these rules were promulgated, the FCC should repeal these rules and others. The FCC cannot fix all of the regulatory distortions in the video marketplace, but repealing network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules is an excellent first step.
Brent Skorup | Jun 20, 2014
Notwithstanding the DACA recommendations for a reconstituted communications competition agency, Congress should also consider alternatives such as abolishing the FCC entirely and relying on antitrust agencies or merging the FCC’s responsibilities with the Federal Trade Commission.

Expert Commentary

Mar 31, 2015

Regulators recently announced they are injecting themselves into the Internet’s development by, among other things, requiring that tech and communications companies seek permission before turning out new Internet services and business models. In response, this week Internet providers – both small and large – sued to strike down the rules for transgressions of administrative and constitutional law.
Feb 26, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission today voted, 3-2, that the Internet will be subject to many of the Title II regulatory provisions of the 1934 Communications Act. Applying Title II laws to broadband means regulating the Internet as a common carrier, akin to the telephone network, and gives significant control of the Internet to the FCC, lobbyists, and industry players.
Feb 23, 2015

Brent Skorup debunks five myths surrounding net neutrality: the Internet has always been neutral; net neutrality regulations are the only way to promote an open Internet; net neutrality regulations improve broadband competition; all prioritized Internet services are harmful to users; net neutrality rules will make broadband cheaper and Internet services like Netflix faster.
Feb 05, 2015

The FCC’s plans represent a giant step backwards to the days of command-and-control. The FCC should not turn over control of the Internet to unelected regulators in the hopes of maintaining a principle that never existed. Instead, their focus should be on increasing broadband competition and allowing companies to quickly respond to the needs of consumers.
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