The FCC threat to healthcare innovation

Later this week, a Federal appeals court will hear oral arguments challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s new Internet regulations. A large number of broadband firms, mobile firms and web entrepreneurs oppose the rules. They wonder why Washington should replace the longstanding, successful policy of open experimentation with a regime of heavy regulation. Last winter’s policy upheaval appears already to have reduced broadband investment by around 10 percent over the first nine months of the year.

Ending the debate: Copyrights are property rights – Pt. 2

My recent paper “Can Economic and Historical Analyses End Copyright Law’s Property/Monopoly Disputes?” rejects three variants of claims that copyrights are best understood as dangerous “monopolies.” Last week, we explored the first of these three claims, namely that copyrights are somehow different from other private property rights that tend to generate differentiated competition. This week, I tackle the contentious topic of copyright term.

The abundance of Moore’s law

On its 50th anniversary, some say Moore’s law is showing signs of age. But you’d never know it by looking at the spread of digital power to every corner of the globe. Global mobile subscriptions of 7.4 billion, according to Ericsson’s new Mobility Report, now outnumber the world’s total population of 7.3 billion. (This can be so because many individuals own multiple devices and single devices can, via multiple SIM cards, support multiple subscriptions.) Just a decade ago, the majority of Chinese had never made a phone call, but today China boasts more than a billion mobile users.

Internet speed: How fast is fast enough?

Much has been made of the apparently woeful average speeds of United States broadband connections. Despite evidence of large absolute increases in average Internet speeds, some advocates are concerned that the US is somehow "falling behind" smaller and more densely-populated countries such as Korea, Latvia, and the Netherlands. This supposed lag has been used to bolster calls for greater federal and municipal investment in local broadband infrastructure, particularly Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks for the 20% of residences currently unable to access local networks at speeds meeting the FCC’s definition of broadband (25 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream). The argument is that it is somehow imperative that the US has the fastest Internet connections in the world, and that to deliver anything less is somehow a “failure” that necessitates government intervention. This line of reasoning is problematic for a number of reasons.