In a blog post, ITIF Research Fellow Richard Bennett discusses the false net neutrality crisis triggered by reactions to an inadvertent Denial of Service Attack caused by 4chan.org. The example illustrates how hard it can be for critics to distinguish “reasonable network management” from dubious practices.
A National Broadband Plan for the Future
As the FCC develops America’s first national broadband strategy, it will be important to focus on both broadband supply and demand, as well as the presence of market failures within the broadband marketplace. Relying on markets alone will not meet our country’s future broadband needs. Instead, to meet the goals for broadband coverage outlined by the FCC, targeted subsidies should be used to expand coverage beyond what the market will provide. In this FCC filing, ITIF discusses the policy and non-policy factors that affect broadband deployment and outlines an appropriate policy framework for a successful national broadband strategy.
A Roundtable on the End of Scarcity, Open Architecture, and the Future of Broadband Competition Policy
There is increasing convergence on some broadband competition policy matters. In a wide ranging discussion, a roundtable jointly sponsored by ITIF and Silicon Flatirons focused in on some of those points as well as highlighted some continuing areas of disagreement among a group of thoughtful policy observers and key stakeholders.
On the areas of agreement, the participants highlighted the importance of using targeted subsidies to provide for ubiquitous broadband for a basic level of access, the multiple components of ensuring robust broadband access (including sufficient “middle mile” capability), and the potentially misleading nature of “peak” broadband speeds. As for areas of disagreement, the roundtable did not reach closure on—but endeavored to provide some level of analysis of—how to evaluate the nature and extent of broadband competition, how to think about the best way to engage in network management, and to what extent, if any, regulatory oversight will be necessary to ensure an adequately robust level of basic Internet access going forward.
The new ITIF-Silicon Flatirons report, A Roundtable on the End of Scarcity, Open Architecture, and the Future of Broadband Competition Policy, is a summary of that roundtable discussion.
We Need Digital Transformation, Not Just Broadband
To listen to the debates over IT policy in the U.S. these days, it would be easy for a casual observer to believe that the U.S. has only one policy goal for the digital economy: spurring broadband deployment and adoption.
Why Municipal Fiber Hasn’t Succeeded
One of most heated broadband policy debates concerns whether broadband in general, and fiber networks in particular, should be provided by private carriers or local governments. In an article in “The FTTH Prism,” Rob Atkinson and George Ou argue that that despite the promises of municipal fiber, the actual success rate of these community fiber projects has been lukewarm at best and in many cases a failure at worst. The article explains why fiber is not necessarily the only technology to focus on, how faster speeds are evolving, why municipal fiber “over-build” projects are economically inefficient, and why municipal fiber hasn’t succeeded in many cases. Finally, it presents a policy framework for thinking about this issue. (see page 17)
The Role of Competition in a National Broadband Policy
Due to the nature of the broadband market there are significant tradeoffs between more competition and the goals of efficiency, lower prices, and higher speeds and broader deployment. Thus it is a mistake for policy makers to assume competition is a panacea to all broadband policy problems. In a recent article in the Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law, ITIF President Rob Atkinson unravels the broadband debate from both the perspective of an engineer and an economist and then evaluates the four main policy options towards broadband competition.
The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next-Generation Broadband Networks
In this report, ITIF argues that supporting the deployment of faster broadband networks will be crucial to enabling next-generation Web-based applications and services that will play important roles in improving quality of life and boosting economic growth. While getting broadband service to the Americans who lack it is an important policy target, next-generation broadband will deliver a wave of new benefits to consumers, society, businesses, and the economy.