Competing to Talk about Competition

Between the dialogue at this week’s breakfast on the healthy state of competition in the U.S. broadband markets – and the Progress and Freedom Foundation’s (PFF) panel in the Capitol today, there would seem to be a "competition" on who can talk the most about the robust American broadband marketplace. Last week we talked about the OECD rankings and why they paint an inaccurate picture of the state of U.S. broadband. This week, discussions at multiple events aimed to respond with data and further demonstrate the fact that the U.S. is the true leader globally when it comes to broadband, competition and innovation.

The PFF event featured Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Larry Darby, Darby Associates and Senior Fellow at the American Consumer Institute, Jeffrey Eisenach, Chairman and Managing Partner at Empiris LLC, George Ford, Chief Economist at the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies, and Thomas Hazlett, Professor of Law and Economics and Director, Information Economy Project, George Mason University.

First, let’s be honest and all agree that whenever you get five PhD’s on the same panel – capturing all the relevant and important points – and key pieces of data – is IMPOSSIBLE. To make up for that, have posted below full archived video footage of the discussion – including the Q & A session.

But we do want to highlight a couple things. Eisenach made a plea to policymakers to not regulate a healthy broadband marketplace based on misconceptions and pre-conceived notions that are not rooted in fact. Net neutrality was brought up in passing and the consensus was that nobody knows what it means – outside of being a political buzzword.

On the topic of regulation, Hazlett posited that many of the regulatory polices being tossed around – like open access – have been tested in real market conditions. And that the results have been disastrous. Hazlett said that regulating an innovative marketplace dries up investment and decreases expansion – all of which points to a significant drop in usage rates. Nothing about those results screams “national broadband strategy."

If we were to summarize today’s PFF discussion into one bullet point – it would be the importance of fact-finding. Policymakers and elected leaders need to ask questions and discover for themselves whether claims that the American broadband marketplace is uncompetitive are rooted in fact. Crafting policy on anything less would be unfair to the American consumer and unwise in advancing our nation’s bold broadband ambitions. Want more from today’s conversation? Click below to see full archived footage from the event.

You can also see our interview below with Jeffrey Eisenach, Chairman and Managing Partner, Empiris LLC.

Part 1
Part 2

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