Bret Swanson is a visiting fellow at AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy and president of Entropy Economics LLC, a strategic research firm specializing in technology, innovation, and the global economy. He advises investors and technology companies, focusing on the Internet ecosystem and the broadband networks and applications that drive it. Swanson is also a scholar at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, where, since 2005, his research has centered on economic growth and policies that encourage it. For eight years Swanson advised technology investors as executive editor of the Gilder Technology Report and later was a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, where he directed the Center for Global Innovation. Swanson began his career as an aide to former senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and was then an economic analyst for former representative Jack Kemp (R-NY) at Empower America.
In a recent talk summarizing a new paper, Tim Brennan — who was chief economist of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the height of the net neutrality wars — called the agency’s 2015 Open Internet Order an “economics free zone.” That was a nice way of saying the new regulations were driven by a narrative, not by real analysis.
Technology once again provided much-needed good news in a year otherwise filled with tension and tumult. Moore’s law, the exponential trend of silicon chip scaling, turned 50 and continued to propel firms in numerous industries across the globe.
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.
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.