Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson

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.
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The FCC votes to regulate a booming Internet; AEI welcomes Rep. Greg Walden to discuss the next chapter

Seventy-three private firms, according to The Wall Street Journal, are now members of “the billion-dollar startup club.” Fifty of these start-ups are American, and a number of them have recently achieved valuations of $10, $20, even $40 billion.

The total value of the 50 US club members is $223.9 billion and does not include the 10 club members that went public or were acquired in 2014. Many US public technology firms are, likewise,...

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Apple launches 29 quintillion transistors into the information economy

In the final three months of 2014, customers around the world bought 74.5 million Apple iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, and 5.5 million Mac computers. That’s 765 Apple product sales every minute for an entire quarter, and Apple’s $18 billion profit was an all-time record for any firm. The Chinese bought $16.4 billion worth of iPhones, and 65 percent of Apple’s sales were outside the US. Information technology is a powerful American export, and its spread around the world is a central factor in a rising global middle class. Digital cost-performance increases don’t just make today’s products a little better or a little cheaper for today’s consumers. No, they create new products, new markets, and give hundreds of millions of new consumers previously unimaginable computational and communicational power. Just how much computing power do these 101.4 million Apple products, sold in just one quarter, represent?
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Broadband facts: GON with the wind

Yesterday, President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to promote government-run broadband networks. On Tuesday, he gave a preview of the speech from the Oval Office. We need to help cities and towns build their own networks, he said, because the US has fallen behind the rest of the world. He pointed to a chart on his iPad, which showed many big US cities trailing Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Seoul in broadband speeds. Amazingly, however, some small US towns with government-owned broadband networks matched these world leaders with their taxpayer-funded deployment of gigabit broadband. I wish I could find a more polite way to say this, but the President’s chart is utter nonsense.
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Zero stars for zero understanding of consumer-friendly ‘zero-rating’

Less data at higher prices. Fewer people online and less experimentation in new digital business models. This would be the result of prohibiting digital content firms from subsidizing the data plans of Internet users, especially entry level and low-income consumers. This suggested prohibition is the latest ideological indulgence of the law professors who think it’s a good idea to start regulating the freest, and most successful, realm in the American economy — the Internet.

The...

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Exabyte evidence delivers broadband verdict for US

Many of our technology policy debates turn on the question of US broadband coverage and quality. Well, I looked at the exabyte evidence – actual traffic flowing over real networks to real consumers – and contrary to the conventional narrative of the last decade, it tells us American broadband is flourishing. I recently published a paper on this finding, entitled “Internet traffic as a basic measure of broadband health.” Included below is a graphic illustrating the finding I mentioned above. Before elaborating on this paper, however, let me recount a series of important developments in the net neutrality saga. For those not following every twist and turn of the debate over the last two weeks – and who could blame you? – we may have seen a turning of the tide, away from mushy narrative and toward rigorous substance.