July 22, 2014 - Attempts to mitigate the harms associated with digital piracy have yielded a variety of approaches, including legal digital sales channels, government intervention (such as the shutdown of Megaupload), and voluntary industry-level cooperation (such as the Copyright Alert System in the U.S.). Participants on the panel "Copyright Protection: Government vs. Voluntary Arrangements" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will discuss empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these initiatives, and legal and policy theories regarding the appropriateness of these initiatives to serve the interests of the creative industries, the technology industries, and society.
July 17, 2014 - Calls for a new Telecommunications Act have been growing, with proponents citing problems with the FCC's "siloed" structure in light of the increasing convergence of industries that compete in each other's markets. However, similar concerns motivated the 1996 legislation. How has the political landscape changed since the 1996 Act, and can new legislation be successful? Participants on the panel, "Political Economy of Telecom Reform" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will discuss such questions as: what, beyond market and technological changes, is motivating calls for telecom reform now; how can the process surrounding the 1996 Act inform development of a new Act today; what interest groups are involved, what are their incentives, and how have these groups and their interests changed since 1996?
July 14, 2014 - In the most recent attempt to draft network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission has again failed to provide the data or analysis needed to show the proposed rules are necessary, would help consumers, or pass a cost-benefit test, states Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard in comments sent today to the FCC. In addition, the three proposed provisions are either unnecessary or potentially harmful.
July 11, 2014 - No government agency or private corporation is immune today from cyber-attack, network penetration and loss of sensitive data. The panel "Targeting a Secure Future" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will examine whether the current approach to cyber-security is making any headway against this epidemic. Panelists, including key federal policymakers and private sector experts, will explore the government's responsibility to protect the private sector as well as companies' obligations (and abilities) to protect their own networks. Given that an effective public-private partnership is broadly viewed as necessary to advance cybersecurity, the panelists will also address whether treating companies that have been hacked as culprits, rather than victims, is sound public policy.
June 30, 2014 - Discounted registration for the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum has been extended through Monday, July 7st. The discount of $500 off the regular registration fee is available for industry and trade association attendees.
June 25, 2014 - The U.S. government's decision to relinquish its historic role in Internet governance has raised questions regarding what's next for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and, more generally, who will be making policy decisions about the future of the Internet. The panel "Internet Governance in Transition: What's the Destination?" at the Technology Policy Institute's 2014 Aspen Forum, will bring together a diverse group of experts to discuss critical internet governance issues.
June 19, 2014 - Nancy Pelosi famously said about the Affordable Care Act, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." That would be a generous description of business-as-usual at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It can take weeks, and sometimes months, for the Commission to release an order they voted on. Even worse, the published and enforceable order is not what the commissioners voted on, but some version of it that hasn't seen sunlight until the day it shows up in the Federal Register.
June 19, 2014 - Advances in the ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data is revolutionizing the way data are used in both the both the public and private sectors. In the past year, both the White House and the Federal Trade Commission have released reports on this issue, both touting the benefits of big data while warning of possible consumer harms. Participants on the panel "Innovation and Privacy in the Era of Big Data" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will address questions related to big data.
June 17, 2014 - The U.S. government's decision to relinquish its historic role in Internet governance has set in motion a transition with no clear resolution. The Department of Commerce has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to "convene stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan," but where this will lead is anyone's guess. What is clear is that the transition provides both the opportunity for, and the necessity of, undertaking a fundamental reevaluation of ICANN's accountability mechanisms.
June 17, 2014 - The Technology Policy Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute will host a luncheon discussion on tax reform on June 18th from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Tax reform is on the legislative agenda in the United States and abroad. But too often reform proposals miss the mark. Join the Technology Policy Institute (TPI) and the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) for a discussion of the benefits of, and political obstacles to tax reform in the U.S., particularly as they pertain to small business, and what we can learn from the United Kingdom.
June 11, 2014 - An updated preliminary agenda is now available online for the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19 in Aspen, Colorado. Registration for the event can be performed on the TPI website and reduced fees are still available until July 1st.
June 4, 2014 - The FTC's recently released report on data brokers is, by my count, the fourth major government report in the last two years to propose new policy remedies for privacy "harms." Yet, like its predecessors, it fails to actually find these harms. The best the Commission can do in the most recent report is point to "potential risks" from data brokers, advertising that "some consumers may find troubling," and marketing classifications that "may be disconcerting." Although the report describes in detail many benefits from data brokers, evidence of actual harms due to their activities is apparently difficult to uncover or, more likely, nonexistent.
June 3, 2014 - Despite the widespread use of social media by entrepreneurs and small businesses, little analysis has been performed regarding its effectiveness, state Technology Policy Institute's Scott Wallsten and Corwin Rhyan in "Social Media and Entrepreneurship: The Case of Food Trucks." To help shed light on this issue, the authors examine the relationship between the use of social media and internet services by mobile food truck operators and the truck's ability to stay in business.
May 29, 2014 - David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, will be the featured dinner speaker at the Technology Policy Institute's 2014 Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19. Cohen will share his observations on key policy issues shaping the communications sector.
May 27, 2014 - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' lack of accountability urgently needs to be addressed in light of the proposed transition away from limited oversight by the U.S. Department of Commerce, state Thomas Lenard and Lawrence White in comments filed today with ICANN. "Although ICANN has functioned reasonably well, we cannot assume that an organization that is essentially accountable to itself, with no meaningful external controls, can continue to do so indefinitely," they warn. Moreover, "notwithstanding the fact that U.S. oversight has been quite light-handed, the diminished U.S. role will create a void that other governments are anxious to fill."
May 13, 2014 - The "familiar" privacy remedies that would limit the re-use and sharing of data are inconsistent with the ways in which big data are being used, according to a new paper, "Big Data, Privacy and the Familiar Solutions," by Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin. Moreover, there is no evidence that the privacy and security threats often cited by privacy advocates are actually occurring.
May 12, 2014 - A preview agenda is now available for the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19. Registration can be performed on the TPI website, and reduced registration fees are offered until July 1st.
May 9, 2014 - Videos of the May 5th event, "Internet Economics in a Changing Video and Data Environment," and videos and presentations from "The Evolving Media Landscape: What do the Data Show," held May 8th, are now available on the TPI website.
May 7, 2014 - Despite the controversy surrounding the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, "the question regulators and antitrust authorities must answer is the same as it is for any merger," explains Scott Wallsten in "An Economic Analysis of the Proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. Regulators must determine if "expected benefits that flow from increased efficiencies outweigh the chances that the merger could increase the incentive and ability of the combined firm to behave in anticompetitive behavior and the magnitude of those effects."
May 5, 2014 - Digital channels for distribution create new opportunities for artists and content owners, but also new challenges in enforcing copyright and reducing piracy. How much of an impact does piracy have on the creative industries? Have past efforts to curb piracy been effective? This panel discussion will highlight findings from recent empirical research analyzing the impact of piracy on sales of copyrighted products and quantifying the effectiveness of both policy-based and market-based strategies for fighting piracy.
April 29, 2014 - Not many years ago policy debates focused almost exclusively on the "last-mile" broadband connection to consumers' homes. Recent public disputes between Netflix and ISPs Comcast and Verizon, however, have highlighted the importance to the consumer's online experience of peering arrangements, content delivery networks (CDNs), and other inner workings of the Internet. At the same time, the need to continue investing in the network to keep up with increasing demand has not diminished. This event will focus on the economics underlying the current controversies and how the web of peering agreements, CDNs, last-mile and backbone networks interact to keep both money and content flowing to where it is most needed.
April 14, 2014 - Not many years ago policy debates focused almost exclusively on the "last-mile" broadband connection to consumers' homes. Recent public disputes between Netflix and ISPs Comcast and Verizon, however, have highlighted the importance to the consumer's online experience of peering arrangements, content delivery networks (CDNs), and other inner workings of the Internet. At the same time, the need to continue investing in the network to keep up with increasing demand has not diminished. This event will focus on the economics underlying the current controversies and how the web of peering agreements, CDNs, last-mile and backbone networks interact to keep both money and content flowing to where it is most needed.
March 31, 2014 - The familiar remedies often suggested to address perceived privacy issues are ill-suited to the world of big data and are potentially a serious barrier to much of the innovation we hope to see from the big data revolution, states Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard in comments filed today with the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
March 20, 2014 - A Government Spectrum Ownership Corporation (GSOC) should be established to lease spectrum to government agencies, much in the same way as the General Services Administration (GSA) does with real estate, explain Thomas Lenard and Lawrence White in comments filed today with the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The goal would be to provide incentives for government agencies to economize on spectrum use and free up spectrum for the private sector.
February 21, 2014 - Online registration is now open for the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled this year for August 17 - 19. The TPI Aspen Forum brings together leaders from business, government, and academia to discuss key public policy issues affecting information and communications technology. This year's theme is, "Tech in Transition: Policy Challenges."
January 31, 2014 - Promoting competition, entry, and experimentation with innovative business models should be the goal of an updated Telecommunications Act, states Technology Policy Institute's Scott Wallsten in comments sent today to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in response to their recent white paper. In order to achieve these goals, Wallsten urges the Committee to require the Federal Communications Commission to apply competition analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis to its decision making. In addition, Wallsten advises Congress to continue to support schemes for efficient and flexible uses of spectrum.
January 22, 2014 - Traditional pay TV is beginning to lose subscribers. Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett called this past year pay TV's "worst 12 month stretch ever." At the same time, over-the-top providers, primarily Netflix, are growing quickly. Yet, not all analysts believe Netflix has the winning business model. New business models and threats to old business models dovetail with various efforts at policy reform in Washington, including debates over usage-based billing, Internet "signal importation," and a la carte choices rather than bundles of channels. This conference will discuss these and other issues facing the video market.
January 17, 2014 - The assertion in a recent petition by public interest groups that it is impossible to anonymize data does not stand up to scrutiny, states Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard in comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission. The agency should not base any decisions on this faulty analysis, which could have broader implications beyond sharing of customer proprietary network information (CPNI).
January 8, 2014 - The Information Technology revolution has produced a data revolution-now commonly referred to as "big data"-in which massive amounts of data can be collected, stored and analyzed at relatively low cost. While the benefits of big data are numerous, from tracking health risks to helping consumers find the lowest prices on goods and services, the emergence of big data has also raised privacy concerns on the part of advocates and government officials. To alleviate these concerns, some are calling for remedies to either restrict or make more transparent how data are collected and used. Speakers at the event will discuss the big data revolution, proposed remedies for privacy concerns and their potential effects, including the findings in the recent paper, "The Big Data Revolution: Privacy Considerations," authored by TPI's Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin.
December 4, 2013 - There is no evidence that the use of "big data" for commercial and other non-surveillance purposes has caused privacy harms according to a new paper, "The Big Data Revolution: Privacy Considerations," by Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin. Moreover, the familiar remedies embodied in the Fair Information Privacy Practices (FIPPs) are ill-suited to the world of big data and are potentially a serious barrier to much of the innovation we hope to see from the big data revolution.
November 22, 2013 - Economists "have committed a fundamental semantic error" by focusing on the term competition and ignoring the cooperative nature of markets, explained TPI senior fellow Paul Rubin in his Presidential Address to the Southern Economic Association this past weekend. By correctly emphasizing cooperation, economists could help combat the "emporiophobia," or the fear of markets that is prevalent in the general public and current political discourse.
November 14, 2013 - The National Telecommunications Information Agency process for awarding funds to projects through the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program was "largely incoherent," explain Scott Wallsten and Gregory Rosston in "The Broadband Stimulus: A Rural Boondoggle and Missed Opportunity," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. The selection process failed to provide a means for measuring the expected cost-effectiveness of proposals, and, as a result, was highly inefficient.
November 12, 2013 - Michael D. Smith, Professor of Information Systems and Marketing and Co-Director of the Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics at Carnegie Mellon University, has joined the Technology Policy Institute as an Adjunct Senior Fellow. Smith's research focuses on firm and consumer behavior in online markets - specifically markets for digital information and digital media products. Recent papers authored by Professor Smith and his colleagues include "Piracy and Copyright Enforcement," and "Gone in 60 Seconds: The Impact of the Megaupload Shutdown on Movie Sales."
November 4, 2013 - The first major patent reform legislation in years is only two years old, yet the patent system remains plagued by wasteful litigation that is harmful to innovation. Fortunately, new patent reform legislation addressing these problems is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.
October 31, 2013 - Video of the October 25th event, "Patent Reform 2.0: Will Proposed Reforms Address the Patent Troll Problems?" is now available on the TPI website.
October 24, 2013 - Barely two years after enactment of the first major patent reform legislation in years, serious concerns remain that the patent system, particularly as applied to software, is characterized by wasteful litigation that ultimately is harmful to innovation. Major complaints involve patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls. In response, the Federal Trade Commission has held workshops and issued reports, and the White House has proposed a number of administrative and legislative actions. Congress is poised to act, with a half dozen bills pending.
October 22, 2013 - Online leisure crowds out other, offline activities such as offline leisure, work, and sleep, finds Scott Wallsten in "What Are We Not Doing When We're Online?" released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Wallsten, TPI Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research, analyzed the 2003 - 2011 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey to determine how online leisure is substituting for other leisure activities, to what extent and how online activities are evolving.
October 22, 2013 - Charles R. Hulten, Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, has joined the Technology Policy Institute as an Adjunct Senior Fellow.
October 21, 2013 - Barely two years after enactment of the first major patent reform legislation in years, serious concerns remain that the patent system, particularly as applied to software, is characterized by wasteful litigation that ultimately is harmful to innovation. Major complaints involve patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls. In response, the Federal Trade Commission has held workshops and issued reports, and the White House has proposed a number of administrative and legislative actions. Congress is poised to act, with a half dozen bills pending.
October 14, 2013 - The incoming Federal Communications Commission Chairman and new Commissioner, along with the existing members, will need to take action on a host of major issues. The Commission will have to make decisions about net neutrality regardless of how the court rules, navigate competing interests in the upcoming spectrum auctions, and determine how to address competition, to name a few.
October 10, 2013 - The incoming Federal Communications Commission Chairman and new Commissioner, along with the existing members, will need to take action on a host of major issues. The Commission will have to make decisions about net neutrality regardless of how the court rules, navigate competing interests in the upcoming spectrum auctions, and determine how to address competition, to name a few.
October 1, 2013 - Barely two years after enactment of the first major patent reform legislation in years, serious concerns remain that the patent system, particularly as applied to software, is characterized by wasteful litigation that ultimately is harmful to innovation. Major complaints involve patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls. In response, the Federal Trade Commission has held workshops and issued reports, and the White House has proposed a number of administrative and legislative actions. Congress is poised to act, with a half dozen bills pending.
by Gregory L. Rosston and Reed E. Hundt
September 24, 2013 - The FCC has taken three different competition policy approaches: the classic role of regulating terms and conditions of sale, the modern role of using various tools to create largely deregulated, multi-firm, competitive markets, and the laissez-faire approach of believing that unregulated markets, even if monopolized, will produce the best outcome. For the most part, a light-handed modern role has proven successful. The FCC should adopt such an approach going forward with a classic regulatory role as a backstop, and it should articulate clearly its competition policy framework so that firms can understand the rules and compete to provide service to customers in a procompetitive manner.
September 19, 2013 - A critique of the Federal Trade Commission's recent approach to online privacy issues by the Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin is included in the new book The Regulatory Revolution at the FTC: A Thirty-Year Perspective on Competition and Consumer Protection. The book, edited by James C. Cooper of George Mason University School of Law, is a collection of essays by leading scholars and officials on how economics-based policymaking at the Commission has laid the groundwork for sensible consumer protection and antitrust regulations. Lenard and Rubin analyze the FTC's recent privacy reports through the prism of the "regulatory revolution" at the FTC thirty years ago and find the current approach wanting in terms of yielding net benefits for consumers.
September 6, 2013 - In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard recommends the agency approve LightSquared's modified mobile broadband network deployment proposal.
August 9, 2013 - Increasing high-speed broadband build out is a top concern in both the U.S. and abroad. How can policymakers and companies determine appropriate and realistic funding approaches that will allow for future Internet infrastructure build outs? What policies best ensure everyone can have access (directly or indirectly) to the latest, fastest, most robust Internet networks? Participants in the panel "Who Pays for the Internet? - A Global Perspective" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will present their ideas on this economically and politically sensitive issue. The Aspen Forum is scheduled for August 18 - 20.
August 2, 2013 - Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President of Purdue University, will be the featured dinner speaker at the Technology Policy Institute's 2013 Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 19 - 21. In his remarks, Daniels is expected to share his thoughts on innovation in higher education.
August 2, 2013 - Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will be the opening day keynote luncheon speaker at this year's TPI Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 18 - 20. In her remarks, Chairwoman Ramirez is expected to discuss the Commission's work and role in consumer privacy issues.
July 31, 2013 - The Technology Policy Institute has confirmed presenters for the 2013 Aspen Forum breakout sessions. The three informal, off-the-record breakout sessions will cover the pertinent topics of patents and IT, copyright and the digital economy, and clearing or sharing government spectrum for private sector use. The Aspen Forum is scheduled for August 18 - 20.
July 29, 2013 - Europe and the U.S. have distinctly different approaches to data and online privacy. In Europe, privacy is considered a fundamental right, a concept reflected in EU draft general data protection regulation currently under consideration. The U.S. is increasingly relying on multistakeholder processes, such as the ones at the W3C and the NTIA to try to develop consensus standards around which various groups can coalesce. How will the different approaches to data protection be reconciled? How will they play out in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations involving trade in digital goods and cross-border data flows? How will the recent revelations about the PRISM surveillance program complicate negotiation and cooperation going forward? Participants on the panel "Privacy, Data Security and Trade - Policy Choices" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will give their views on these issues.
July 26, 2013 - Top issues being examined by Congress, from immigration to identity theft, have the potential to greatly affect the technology and communications industries. How are the issues taking shape in Congressional Committees? What's the forecast for action on matters of import to tech? The panel "Communications and IT - What Can We Expect from Congress?" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will cover topics such as online privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property, video and media, telecommunications and the transition to IP networks.
July 24, 2013 - The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding an oversight hearing this week to examine the Federal Communications Commission's progress in planning its upcoming spectrum incentive auction. The Commission expects the auction to contribute 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum to the goal of an additional 300 MHz for mobile broadband by 2015 established by the FCC's National Broadband Plan. While the incentive auction is important and deserves the attention it is receiving from the commission and Congress, attention should also be paid to another category of spectrum: the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) spectrum. This is the most immediately available spectrum - indeed, the only significant block of spectrum that is already licensed but not deployed. Since considerable doubt exists concerning whether the incentive auction will yield anything close to the projected 120 MHz, the commission might get more "bang for the buck" by focusing greater attention on removing the remaining impediments to the deployment of the MSS spectrum.
July 23, 2013 - The closing luncheon at this year's Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 18 - 20, will feature "A Conversation with the Commissioners," with FTC Commissioners Julie Brill and Joshua Wright. The Federal Trade Commission has found itself increasingly in the spotlight on high profile technology policy issues including privacy and data security, competition and antitrust, and intellectual property protection. The discussion, which will be moderated by Politico technology reporter Tony Romm, will touch on these and other issues.
July 19, 2013 - Randal S. Milch, Executive Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel at Verizon, will be the keynote speaker opening the final day of this year's TPI Aspen Forum. The conference is scheduled for August 18 - 20 in Aspen, Colorado.
July 12, 2013 - R. Stanton Dodge, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Colorado-based Dish Network will offer welcoming remarks at the Sunday evening opening reception of this year's TPI Aspen Forum. The conference is scheduled for August 18 - 20 in Aspen, Colorado. Robert W. Crandall, TPI Adjunct Senior Fellow and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, is scheduled to open the Monday morning session of the conference. Crandall, one of the nation's most prominent industrial organization and telecommunications economists, will discuss the future of broadband policy and how to avoid repeating past mistakes. Specifically, he will discuss how policy should be informed by the results of past interventions as well as by an accurate assessment of current market conditions.
July 2, 2013 - The upcoming FCC incentive auctions, which aim to facilitate market-based transfer of spectrum from broadcast TV to broader wireless uses, may be the most complex the Commission has ever conducted. Many questions remain regarding how the auction should be structured and carried out. For example, within the constraints imposed by Congress, should the auctions maximize revenues, new spectrum available, or something else? What band plan will best contribute to a successful auction and thriving post-auction wireless ecosystem? What are the implications of potential participation restrictions imposed on certain wireless providers? How can the auction ensure robust participation by broadcasters?
June 28, 2013 - Discounted registration for the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum has been extended through the July 4th holiday week. The discount of $500 off the regular registration fee is now available through Monday, July 8th.
June 21, 2013 - Creative destruction occurs when new companies or business models replace existing ones, transforming existing industries or creating entirely new ones. This phenomenon is especially pronounced in the tech industry, where such disruptions can dramatically and quickly change the competitive landscape. The panel "Deconstructing Creative Destruction" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will feature start-up founders, market analysts and academics who will attempt to unpack the black box of disruptive innovation by exploring how entrepreneurs take on established industries and the obstacles standing in their way.
June 7, 2013 - As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our lives for work and entertainment, there is increased focus on the economics of the internet ecosystem. Are markets for broadband and applications sufficiently competitive? Are they delivering what consumers and businesses want and need? Most importantly, is government providing a framework that encourages investment and innovation? The panel "Competition, Regulation and the Evolution of Internet Business Models" at the TPI Aspen Forum will feature speakers from broadband providers, government and academia to discuss such topics as: the economics of broadband platforms, business models and pricing plans, investment in infrastructure and applications, and the need to update public policies accordingly.
May 23, 2013 - The Obamaphone controversy-whether government should subsidize wireless phone service for the poor-has two great ironies. The first is that wireless subsidies, which are part of the Lifeline and Linkup programs, were actually begun under Republicans President Bush and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. This irony has been well documented and thoroughly enjoyed by many liberals.
May 21, 2013 - Exclusive focus by policymakers and advocates on increasing broadband speeds removes from consideration other metrics that may be as or more important to innovation, explains Scott Wallsten in "The Real Benefits of Gigabit Networks Have Nothing to do with Speed," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. The focus on broadband speed, "also obscures the real benefits of new high-speed networks like Google Fiber, which include new competition and revealed information about how local rules and regulations can hamper entry into the broadband market."
May 17, 2013 - A preview agenda is now available for the 2013 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 18 - 20.
May 16, 2013 - Barry Diller's new Aereo venture may turn out to be the ultimate Catch-22. Aereo is possible only because of the existence of broadcast television, but broadcasters view it as a threat and have warned that they may stop broadcasting. If that happens, broadcast television and Aereo could both cease to exist.
May 14, 2013 - This is in response to ICANN's request for comments on the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Beijing Communique of 11 April 2013. The GAC Communique recommends that ICANN implement a range of regulations (which the GAC calls "safeguards") for all new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) covering areas ranging from malware to piracy to trademark and copyright infringement. The GAC proposes specific safeguards for regulated and professional sectors covering areas as diverse as privacy and security, consumer protection, fair lending and organic farming. Finally, the GAC proposes a "public interest" requirement for approval of new "exclusive registry access" gTLDs.
May 3, 2013 - The Technology Policy Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute will host a luncheon discussion on tax reform and simplification on May 7th from 11:45am to 1:15pm.
April 30, 2013 - The mobile satellite service (MSS) spectrum is the spectrum most immediately available for meeting the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan goals, explain Thomas Lenard and Lawrence White in "The Spectrum Crunch, MSS Spectrum and LightSquared," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. To help reach its goal, the agency should grant LightSquared's request to modify its spectrum license and allow the company to move forward with its 4G-LTE network.
April 10, 2013 - In the midst of juggling paperwork and forms during tax season it's tempting to imagine a world where your income tax forms spontaneously appear in your mailbox or inbox, filled out by the good graces of the IRS, ready for signature, free of charge. Return-free filing is touted in a recent piece by ProPublica and NPR, which makes the case that Americans could be spared needless frustration, anxiety and paperwork were it not for the lobbying efforts of Intuit, maker of TurboTax, and the pernicious influence of anti-tax activists. Unfortunately, the facts tell a different story and return-free filing advocates rest their case on a number of fallacies.
April 5, 2013 - The Federal Communication Commission's recent Mobility Fund Phase 1 Auction should be considered a "qualified success," illustrating that reverse auctions and cost-effectiveness measures can be efficient ways to distribute Universal Service subsidies, explains Scott Wallsten in "Two Cheers for the FCC's Mobility Fund Reverse Auction," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. However, in order to address possible issues with future reverse auctions, the Commission should consider analyzing auction eligibility requirements, how it evaluates bids, and using different auction designs to discourage strategic bidding.
March 7, 2013 - Individual operators of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) should determine if registration policies should be "open" or "closed," recommends Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard in comments filed with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Leaving the decision to the operator allows experimentation and innovation in business models and promotes flexibility, making it easier to allocate gTLDs to the highest-valued use as business models or economic conditions change.
February 28, 2013 - In his recent paper, "Is There Really a Spectrum Crisis? Quantifying the Factors Affecting Spectrum License Value," TPI's Scott Wallsten found that spectrum auction prices increased from 2007 - 2011, suggesting that demand for wireless services outpaced technological improvements in spectrum usage and increases in spectrum supply. Both the Federal Communications Commission and Congress have made moving spectrum into the market a priority. Are the proposed spectrum auctions and release of spectrum for unlicensed uses enough to ease the "crunch"?
February 12, 2013 - Online registration is now open for the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled this year for August 18 - 20.
February 1, 2013 - In his recent paper, "Is There Really a Spectrum Crisis? Quantifying the Factors Affecting Spectrum License Value," TPI's Scott Wallsten found that spectrum auction prices increased from 2007 - 2011, suggesting that demand for wireless services outpaced technological improvements in spectrum usage and increases in spectrum supply. Both the Federal Communications Commission and Congress have made moving spectrum into the market a priority. Are the proposed spectrum auctions and release of spectrum for unlicensed uses enough to ease the "crunch"?
January 24, 2013 - Spectrum license values have steadily increased over the past five years, explains Scott Wallsten in "Is There Really a Spectrum Crisis? Quantifying the Factors Affecting Spectrum License Value." From 2007 to 2011, spectrum auction prices in terms of dollars per MHz-pop increased, suggesting that demand for wireless services outpaced technological improvements in spectrum usage. Therefore, Wallsten advises, "The FCC and NTIA should continue to move spectrum into the market and ensure that spectrum already available be able to move smoothly and efficiently through secondary transactions."
January 14, 2013 - Robert W. Crandall, one of the most prominent industrial organization economists working today, has joined the Technology Policy Institute as an Adjunct Senior Fellow. "Bob has done fundamental research in telecommunications, antitrust and other areas of regulatory policy," said TPI president Tom Lenard. "We are extremely pleased he is joining us."
January 7, 2013 - After investigating Google's search practices for almost two years, the Federal Trade Commission and its staff undoubtedly wanted more than the few voluntary modifications to which Google has agreed. But the Commission demonstrated its professionalism by concluding that the evidence did not support bringing an antitrust case and that no additional remedy was likely to benefit consumers.