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, National AffairsThe New York TimesThe Chicago Tribune, Wired, Reuters, and elsewhere. He has provided expert commentary for news outlets including C-SPAN, NPR, CBS, The Washington Post, Vox, 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
In a study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, “Video Marketplace Regulation: A Primer on the History of Television Regulation and Current Legislative Proposals,” scholars Adam Thierer and Brent Skorup review television distribution rules and regulations, their negative effects on the market, and the various proposals for reform. While most congressional proposals for reforming video regulation only address the symptoms of overregulation, or worse, propose to expand these regulations, some proposals take a more comprehensive approach to reforming the extensive regulatory regime for video distribution. Entrepreneurs and consumers would benefit from removing or reforming much of the current regulation of the video distribution market.
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 | Dec 21, 2015
Contrary to Title II proponents’ claims, wireless carriers do not infringe free speech rights when they filter text messaging content they believe their customers do not wish to receive. Title II regulation of text messaging and short code service would not protect free speech. In fact, because mobile carriers exercise editorial discretion over mass messages they transmit, regulation would impermissibly chill wireless carriers’ exercise of speech. Further, since wireless carriers transmit short codes and other messaging based on individual arrangements and exercise control over the content of certain messages, messaging does not resemble telecommunications. For these reasons, regulating short code and similar messaging services under Title II of the Communications Act would likely be unconstitutional and contrary to law.
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.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Mar 24, 2016

The success of online video illustrates that TV providers don’t require members of Congress and bureaucrats dictating how to give consumers affordable, quality TV — content creators have done that on their own.
Dec 03, 2015

The FCC’s attempt to use Title II, its most intrusive regulatory weapon, to regulate the Internet shows agency disdain for the law, for free markets, and for free speech. Americans should hope the Court of Appeals will deny this regulatory overreach and strike down, for a third time, the FCC’s attempts to turn ISPs into common carriers.
By Brent Skorup, Joe Kane |
Oct 16, 2015

Federal regulators recently approved AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV and Verizon’s purchase of AOL and are currently deciding whether to permit the merger of two cable companies, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Charter Communications. Inevitably, media mergers breed techno-panic in some quarters with a consistency matched only by the failure of their predicted disaster scenarios to materialize.
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.
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