Tuesday, September 15, 2009

FSF Conference Video Posted

The video from the Free State Foundation's September 10 conference at the National Press Club is now available on the NextGenWeb site here.

The keynote addresses of FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker – her maiden FCC address – and Blair Levin, the Coordinator and Executive Director of the FCC Omnibus Broadband Initiative, deservedly, have garnered much press attention. It's worth emphasizing that the presentations of Professors James Speta, Christopher Yoo, and John Mayo not only were scholarly, as one might expect from these prominent scholars, but they were informative, interesting, and entertaining as well. Looking out into the audience while they were speaking, I was struck – nearly dumbstruck – that the berries, pods, and other assorted handheld devices, had all but disappeared.

Both Jim Speta and Christopher Yoo, in the context of addressing the FCC's decision last year in the Comcast file-sharing case now on review, discussed both procedural and substantive failings in the way the FCC handled the case. While their focus was principally on net neutrality and the agency's decisionmaking process, the cautionary note they sounded concerning the perils of regulatory overreach, and the potential consumer harms from such overreach, has more general applicability as the Commission considers other competition issues. Similarly, John Mayo's discussion of the urgent need for universal service reform, while cogently making that case, does double duty as a basic refresher, for those in need, of some fundamental economic principles.

In other words, the video contains much useful and thought-provoking information, and much for the new FCC to consider as it gets ready to tackle formulating the broadband plan and addressing other communications issues. So, as they invariably say in New York, when they bring your hot pastrami sandwich and pickle: "Enjoy!"

PS: As I said at the conference, there is 20% discount for Free State Foundation friends and family on FSF's new book, New Directions in Communications Policy, published by Carolina Academic Press. In addition to Professors Speta, Yoo, and Mayo, other contributors to the book are: Professors Gerald Brock, Diane Disney, Richard Epstein, Bruce Owen, Glen Robinson, Dennis Weisman, and Steven Wildman. They are all members of FSF's Board of Academic Advisors. The secret code for the discount is COMM20 – but don't spread it around too freely. You can order the book on CAP's website here, or call 800-489-7486.