Hazlett Participates in FCC Workshop on National Broadband Plan

As part of the formulation of a new National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a staff workshop on December 10 in which Professor Thomas Hazlett assisted in the review of two independent studies dealing with issues relevant to the plan's development. The workshop, held in the FCC's Commission Room, reviewed a study by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society that examined broadband transition and policies from around the world. Also reviewed was a study by the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information that surveyed projected deployment by U.S. companies of new and upgraded broadband networks.

Hazlett, who is Director of the Information Economy Project at Mason, as well as Professor of Law & Economics, was a panelist in a review of the Berkman Report, "Next Generation Connectivity: A Review of Broadband Internet Transitions and Policy from Around the World." Appearing with Hazlett as panelists were Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Harvard University, and Harold Feld, Legal Director of Public Knowledge.

Hazlett was critical of the Berkman Report, saying it ignores the lessons of the United States' own experience with different forms of broadband regulation. He also disagreed with the study's conclusion that open access and unbundling has facilitated broadband market entry in other countries. Hazlett contrasted the differing treatments of cable modem and DSL service in the U.S., citing that as a natural experiment demonstrating the benefits of deregulation to broadband deployment. 

The National Broadband Plan is a directive of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is scheduled for submission to Congress by February 17, 2010. The plan will address broadband deployment, adoption, and affordability, as well as the use of broadband to advance solutions to national priorities such as health care, education, energy, public safety, job creation, investment, and other important areas.

Read more: Berkman, CITI Studies Critiqued at Broadband Workshop, TR Daily, December 10, 2009. (Subscription required.)