Medicating the Healthy

10/02/2009 by Jeffrey A. Eisenach, Ph.D

At a teleconference sponsored today by the Digital Society, I had the opportunity to join my colleagues Ev Ehrlich and Wayne Leighton in presenting our new study analyzing the potential impact of “net neutrality” regulations on the wireless broadband market. скачать порно клипы бесплатно

Our research found a basic and troubling irony. Most of the proposals in favor of net neutrality are based on claims that these regulations would enhance innovation and increase customer choice. In fact, such regulations would have exactly the opposite effect. They would strain essential innovation and competitive dynamics in wireless just as they are beginning to deliver profound consumer benefits and significant economic growth opportunities.

As today’s discussion emphasized, the U.S. wireless market is a hotbed of innovation and competition. This is especially true when it is compared to other leading economies of the world. As our study highlights, the U.S. is one of only four OECD countries (along with Canada, France and the UK) with more than four major national facilities-based wireless providers—not to mention the nearly 140 niche and regional players here in the U.S. Given this fact, my co-authors and I believe the net neutrality regulations being considered at the FCC would be the equivalent of making a perfectly healthy patient undergo a dangerous and unnecessary medical procedure. Side effects of this procedure could prove fatal to the innovation and consumer choice which net neutrality advocates claim to find so desirable.

The practices that would be banned by net neutrality regulations have proven efficient mechanisms for spreading and reducing risk, lowering transaction costs, enhancing marketing and delivering greater consumer value. All of these effects reinforce rather than undermine innovation and competition. While net neutrality limitations would move broadband wireless toward becoming a commodity service, it is the flexibility to deliver diverse consumer choices to the marketplace that ultimately advances competition, consumer value and innovation.

The rather thin rationale for imposing net neutrality regulations is based on the theoretical possibilities of market abuse. Yet no such harm has been done in the real world, in part because that kind of market power does not exist among any of the providers in the competitive U.S. market. Should abuses occur, current laws and regulations are more than adequate to correct them.

Let’s not kill a healthy and growing market by trying to cure a disease that doesn’t exist.

Measuring Broadband – A Fresh Approach

07/15/2009 by Tom Amontree

Today the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies added even more muscle to the notion that the OECD rankings mean very little – if anything – in the context of measuring broadband penetration and adoption.

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell headlined the event, and he never misses an opportunity to call out the OECD for their misleading approach. Using the OECD’s methodology, McDowell said that if all OECD countries – including the U.S. – enjoyed 100% broadband penetration, with all homes and businesses being connected, that the U.S. would fall even further “behind.” The U.S. would be deemed a relative failure because the OECD methodology measures broadband connections per capita, putting countries with larger household sizes at a statistical disadvantage.

When you think that the U.S., a country with more than 73 million U.S. households subscribed to broadband, is ranked behind countries roughly the size of Rhode Island, well the lunacy of the OECD data speaks for itself.

The timing of the Phoenix Center effort is good as the FCC works to deliver a national broadband strategy to President Obama next February. With support of the governments of Portugal and Brazil, the Phoenix Center has developed a new Broadband Adoption Index (BAI), which measures broadband adoption by country-specific benchmarks.

This methodology differs significantly from the simplistic “counting the connections” approach used by the OECD. Implementation begins with formulating meaningful adoption targets. Using data on the types and prices of broadband services purchased and the demographic characteristics of consumers, the BAI algorithm establishes sensible policy targets for broadband adoption or deployment based on maximizing societal well-being. These targets will vary by technology, demographic group and country. Performance is then sensibly measured in reference to achieving these customized goals.

The emphasis on social value means the BAI provides a sounder basis for comparing broadband adoption between countries than metrics like the OECD rankings. The value-driven approach allows one to legitimately compare whether, say, Turkey is closer to maximizing the social value from broadband than, say, Japan. Merely comparing the raw, per-capita adoption rates of Turkey and Japan – two countries with markedly different demographics, economies and population density – provides little information relevant to broadband policy.

We hope innovative models like the Broadband Adoption Index that attempt to paint an accurate picture of U.S. broadband are given a serious look as the FCC continues to work toward developing a national broadband strategy. We need a precise look at where the needs are so government and the private sector can build upon the country’s status as the premier broadband marketplace in the world. The new BAI is certainly a step forward.

New Analysis Sheds Needed Light on U.S. Broadband

07/13/2009 by Tom Amontree

Here at NextGenWeb, we’ve long taken issue with the apples-to-oranges methodology used by the OECD for its international broadband rankings. (Among several concerns, for example, we have a hard time accepting that the U.S. is behind countries roughly the size of Rhode Island.) Fortunately, today a more measured analysis has emerged that sheds constructive light on where we are today—and where we still need to go.

At an event hosted today by the Technology Policy Institute, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow Scott Wallsten discussed findings in his new paper on U.S. broadband that sets the table for a more substantive discussion about the future. The good news? The U.S. is leading the world in broadband infrastructure investment and offers among the least expensive entry-level broadband plans in the world. Where can we do better? Stimulating demand among those who still feel they won’t benefit from broadband.

One of the biggest pieces of data that jumped out at me was the rise in household broadband penetration, which increased from 47 percent in March 2007 to 63 percent in April 2009. Once again, we see that people aren’t shying away from broadband in a down economy. The report’s final conclusion: “Policymakers would be wise to consider any new policies carefully to ensure that they will have net benefits and new rules do not derail aspects of the broadband market that are working well.”

Many of the speakers at today’s event echoed this concern about the risks of regulation to maintaining a policy environment that will continue to foster robust U.S. broadband investment and expansion. Here are some highlights from the conversation:

Verizon’s David Hill emphasized a constructive role for government stimulating demand. “Over 90% of Americans have access to broadband, and we have achieved a 63% broadband penetration rate,” he said. “The wireless market in the U.S. is the second most competitive in the world. Price is not the main reason for shortfalls in adoption. This is where the government can play a role, in stimulating adoption for people who site irrelevance and usability as reason for not adopting. In 2008, private-sector investment in broadband infrastructure exceeded U.S. government investment in transportation infrastructure.”

Warning that more regulation would likely harm the competitive marketplace was William Lehr, Associate Research Scholar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and Associate Director of the MIT Internet and Telecoms Convergence Consortium. “New regulation,” he argued, “is only going to block new competition.”

We have important conversations ahead of us on a national broadband strategy. Starting from a common (and accurate) understanding of where we are today—both the progress made to date and the collective challenges still ahead—is an essential starting point.

Click below to watch full archived footage from the event.

Ranking the Rankings

06/05/2009 by NextGenWeb

If there’s one thing the OECD broadband rankings generate – it’s chatter. Whether the rankings paint an accurate picture of global broadband rankings – well that’s another thing altogether. Today at a panel hosted by the Free State Foundation the question was whether or not these rankings even matter. Fair question.

The discussion was moderated by Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation. He had to bust out the shot clock at times as his guests were a seasoned group of experts who had a lot of interesting things to say – not just on the rankings, but on the future of broadband and innovation in the U.S.

They included Ambassador David Gross, former U.S Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State, Rob Atkinson, Founder and President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Link Hoewing, Assistant Vice President, Internet and Technology Issues, Verizon, and Christopher Guttman-McCabe, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CTIA.

A couple observations (NOTE: full footage of the discussion – including a robust Q&A – will be posted on NextGenWeb on Monday) … there was “violent agreement” on the fact that the OECD rankings in no way capture America’s leadership on broadband – or to be a bit more modest they mischaracterize a U.S. broadband market that is ripe with competition and innovation. Ask any of the 1,400 broadband providers competing vehemently to deliver their services to the consumer. There was good dialogue on the way countries like South Korea, Japan and Sweden approach broadband – and part of that dialogue focused on the OECD’s notion that what works in one country should automatically be applied to others. There are too many ways to debunk that notion to include in one blog, but a few brought up by the panel included discrepancies in market size, geography and generally methodologies used by the OECD to capture this data.

America boasts more broadband users and has the most competitive market of any nation on the globe. So as the discussion grows on developing a national broadband strategy, at least the panelists today agreed that facilitation of that progress is essential as we move forward with bringing the broadband promise to even more people. There’s no sense in looking backwards – sorry, OECD rankings. No offense.

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