Broadband Regulation

Broadband Regulation

Research

Roslyn Layton , Michael Horney | Aug 12, 2014
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Roslyn Layton and Michael Horney survey broadband in America and compare broadband costs around the world. They find that the United States is a global leader in broadband, as measured by the level of broadband-enabled economic activity, the number of Internet-based companies, the level of digital exports, and the level of Internet-enabled employment.
Daniel Lyons | Mar 18, 2014
Although intended to promote competition and innovation among Internet content providers,“net neutrality” rules reduce innovation by broadband service providers. Within limits, broadband providers may offer different plans that vary the quantity and quality of their service. But they usually cannot vary the service itself: broadband providers are generally required to offer customers access to all lawful Internet traffic, or none at all. This all-or-nothing broadband homogenization places America increasingly at odds with international markets, particularly with regard to mobile broadband. This paper examines the diverse array of wireless broadband products available worldwide, and uses these international innovations to illuminate the difficulties posed by net neutrality principles in the United States. Broadband access is merely one part of a much broader Internet ecosystem. Regulators’ focus on one narrow set of relationships in that ecosystem retards innovation and limits the ability of Americans to share in the global revolution currently taking place for mobile services.
Brent Skorup | May 28, 2013
This paper discusses the history of spectrum management and the commercial and federal uses of the radio frequencies. Several policy proposals for reclaiming federal spectrum are presented, along with recommendations for rationalizing spectrum management.
Eli Dourado | Nov 30, 2012
The possible extension of the telephone system’s “sender-pays” rule to the Internet is a contentious international political issue under consideration at the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT). This paper examines whether higher international telephone rates support or impede telecom sector growth in the receiving country. It uses data on international telephone rates from the US from 1992-2010 to explain growth in foreign telecom sectors during the same period.
Daniel Lyons | Oct 09, 2012
This working paper evaluates the merits of data caps and other usage-based pricing strategies. Usage- based pricing shifts more network costs onto heavier Internet users. This can reduce costs for others and make broadband more accessible to low-income consumers. Usage-based pricing can also reduce network congestion. While data caps can be used to hurt competition, antitrust law teaches that regulators should intervene only if consumers suffer harm and cannot switch Internet providers. Otherwise, broadband providers should be free to experiment with different pricing strategies to compete for customers and fund future network upgrades.
Bruce M. Owen | May 24, 2012
Getting rid of obsolete regulation of the broadcast and distribution of video pro- gramming is essential to the efficient operation of a market that has the potential to greatly increase the benefits to consumers.

Testimony & Comments

Expert Commentary

May 13, 2014

Unfortunately, the orchestrated reaction in recent weeks might spark rash political decision-making, and leave us with onerous rules, delaying or making impossible new broadband services. Hopefully, in the ensuing months, reason wins out, and FCC staff are persuaded by competitive analysis and possible innovations, not T-shirt slogans.
Jul 03, 2013

Over the years we have been told that when it comes to broadband, Europe leads America. That the U.S. model tends too much toward monopoly, while Europe’s ensures strong competition among many small players. Well, queue the schadenfreude.
Apr 26, 2013

Of all the distortionary federal regulations in existence, few are more patently inefficient and convoluted than those governing the television airwaves. Aereo, a new startup backed by media mogul Barry Diller, is looking to blow it all up.
Feb 08, 2013

A free, nationwide, ad-supported wireless network provided by Google or anyone else would certainly be a great thing, but it shouldn't rely on shortcuts. Not only should new entrants have to build out their own network infrastructure, but they should have to buy their spectrum at auction, too.
Jan 31, 2013

Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer prodigy and Internet activist, was facing decades in prison for violating federal hacking laws when he took his own life earlier this month. Many commentators, including Lawrence Lessig and Glenn Greenwald, have argued that prosecutorial zeal drove Swartz to hang himself. They’re certainly right. Yet prosecutorial discretion would not have mattered much if the possibility of such draconian punishment did not exist.
Dec 20, 2012

Can the ITU and its member states truly embrace transparent processes? Perhaps—but there’s a long way to go. And the future direction of the Internet could be at stake.

Experts

Podcasts

Jerry Brito | February 05, 2013
Jerry Brito and WCITLeaks co-creator Eli Dourado have a conversation about the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), a UN treaty conference that delved into questions of Internet governance.

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

Please join us for a discussion with Raymond Gifford, Jeffrey Eisenach, and Howard Shelanski that will examine if a new framework might be needed for broadband policy and the possibility of reforming the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Books

Adam Thierer | Jan 31, 2011
A response to fans of the Internet who fear that dark days lie ahead unless steps are taken to "save the Net" from a variety of ills, especially the perceived end of "openness."

Media Clippings

Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado | Oct 10, 2012
Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado's WCITLeaks cited at The Hill…
Eli Dourado | Sep 25, 2012
Eli Dourado quoted discussing international telecommunications regulations.
Jerry Brito | Sep 07, 2012
Jerry Brito quoted at Ars Technica discussing broadband.
Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado | Aug 09, 2012
Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado cited for their creation of WCITLeaks.org.
Eli Dourado | Apr 24, 2012
Eli Dourado explains why ISP caps are economically sound policy.
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