Still a series of tubes? The dynamic Internet and competition policy
About This Event

Event Summary

On Wednesday at AEI, experts discussed the rapid growth of the Internet and the implications of that growth for future policy and regulation. While presenting the key tenets of his new book, "The Dynamic Internet" (AEI Press, September 2012), Christopher Yoo described how the user base, technologies, devices, and business applications associated with the Internet are fundamentally different than they were when the Internet first entered the mainstream in the mid–1990s. Yoo emphasized that designing regulation based on a static view of the Internet would staunch the innovation that has made the network adaptable to ever-changing customer demands.

AEI's Jeff Eisenach also cautioned against predicting the Internet's future path, and stressed that broadband is characterized by dynamism, modularity, and network effects. He noted that though the broadband industry is similar to many other information technology (IT) industries, it is subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation rather than anti-trust law. Given the similarities between the broadband and IT industries, Eisenach argued, FCC regulation discourages innovation.

Discussants Jonathan Nuechterlein of WilmerHale and Blair Levin of the Aspen Institute provided brief reactions to the presentations. Nuechterlein contended that the FCC frequently misses the key problem: that a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation will not work. Levin concluded that the FCC must make decisions, and described the FCC's theories of competition, public goods, and innovation that affect those decisions.
-- Brad Wassink

Event Description

Today's Internet is a far cry from the world of simple browsers and web pages that burst into the public consciousness in the mid-1990s. As Christopher Yoo explains in his new book titled "The Dynamic Internet," these changes have fundamental implications for public policy, including both communications regulation and antitrust policy.  The answer, as Yoo and AEI visiting scholar Jeffrey Eisenach will explain, is most definitely not to turn the Internet into a public utility, as some on the left are now recommending. Join us for a discussion of the policy implications of the dynamic Internet in 2013.

Books will be available for purchase.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


3:45 PM

4:00 PM
Opening Remarks

4:10 PM
Jeffrey Eisenach, AEI
Christopher S. Yoo, University of Pennsylvania Law School and AEI

Jonathan E. Nuechterlein
, WilmerHale
Blair Levin, Aspen Institute

5:00 PM
Question and Answer Session

Kevin A. Hassett, AEI

5:30 PM
Adjournment and Reception

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Brittany Pineros at [email protected], 202.862.5926.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Jeffrey Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the US Office of Management and Budget. As a visiting scholar at AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a managing director and a principal at Navigant Economics and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches a course on regulated industries. He writes about a wide range of issues, including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. He has also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Kevin A. Hassett is the director of economic policy studies and a senior fellow at AEI. Before joining AEI, he was a senior economist on the board of governors of the US Federal Reserve System, an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia Business School, and a policy consultant to the US Department of the Treasury during the George H. W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He served as an economic adviser during the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign, as chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during the 2000 presidential primaries, and as senior economic adviser during the McCain 2008 presidential campaign. Hassett also writes a column for National Review.

Blair Levin is a communications and society fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Communications and Society Program. From June 2009 to May 2010, he served as the executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  In his role at the FCC, Levin oversaw the development of a National Broadband Plan, a project mandated by Congress in the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Levin had rejoined the commission after eight years as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. Previously, Levin served as chief of staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, where he oversaw the implementation of the historic 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, the first spectrum auctions, the development of digital television standards, and the commission's Internet initiative. Before his position with the FCC, Levin was a partner in the North Carolina law firm of Parker, Poe, Adams and Bernstein, where he represented new communications ventures and numerous local governments on public financing issues.

Jonathan E. Nuechterlein is the chair of WilmerHale’s Communications, Privacy and Internet Law Practice Group. Nuechterlein's practice focuses on appellate litigation and competition issues, particularly those arising under federal telecommunications law. He represents clients in the US Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeals on a broad range of issues. He also represents major telecommunications clients before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in connection with net neutrality, broadband classification and deployment, intercarrier compensation, and many other topics. From January 2000 until early 2001, Nuechterlein served as deputy general counsel of the FCC, where he oversaw litigation arising from the Telecommunications Act of 1996. From 1996 to 2000, he served as assistant to the solicitor general in the US Department of Justice. In that capacity, he argued seven cases in the Supreme Court, drafted the federal government's briefs in many additional cases, and helped formulate the government's litigation strategy on a wide range of issues. He is the author (with Phil Weiser) of “Digital Crossroads: American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age” (MIT Press, 2005), which comprehensively analyzes the law and economics of competition in the US telecommunications industry.

Christopher S. Yoo has emerged as one of the nation’s leading authorities on law and technology. His research focuses on how the principles of network engineering and the economics of imperfect competition can provide insight into the regulation of electronic communications. He has been a leading voice in the “network neutrality” debate that has dominated Internet policy over the past several years. He is also pursuing research on copyright theory and the history of presidential power. He is the author of “The Dynamic Internet: How Technology, Users, and Businesses Are Transforming the Network” (AEI Press, 2012), “Networks in Telecommunications: Economics and Law” (Cambridge University Press, 2009, with Daniel F. Spulber), and “The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush” (Yale University Press, 2008, with Steven G. Calabresi). Yoo testifies frequently before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.

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