Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons is a Visiting Scholar with AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, and an associate professor at Boston College Law School, where he specializes in telecommunications and Internet regulation, as well as administrative law. Professor Lyons’ scholarship focuses on the challenges that technological development poses for legacy regulatory regimes. Among other topics, he has written on technology convergence and the need to redefine the boundary between federal and state jurisdiction over telecommunications; the relationship between net neutrality and traditional common carriage; and the importance of allowing pricing innovation in broadband markets. He is also a member of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Free State Foundation and a Fellow with the Boston Bar Association.
Twenty20

The FCC and the no good, very bad day (in court)

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defended its controversial municipal broadband order before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. As many pundits expected, the agency faced a highly skeptical bench, largely because the agency’s plan to protect cities from the states that govern them violates basic federalism principles announced by the Supreme Court almost two decades ago. The court’s questions reflected the views of many — specifically, in that this judicial precedent almost certainly dooms the enterprise, leaving one to wonder how the FCC ever let things get this far.
Twenty20

Lifeline: How little the FCC dares to dream

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote today on a proposal to extend its Lifeline program to include broadband access. If successful, the 13 million households that currently receive $9.25 per month to help pay their telephone bills will be allowed instead to spend that subsidy on broadband service. To fund this expansion, the agency is reportedly seeking a 50 percent increase in the Lifeline budget, to $2.25 billion.
Twenty20

Setting a budget for the Lifeline program

Throughout his tenure as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner, Mike O’Rielly has highlighted issues that, while not as headline grabbing as spectrum auctions or net neutrality, are nonetheless vitally important to American telecommunications policy. Earlier this week, he posted a blog on one such vital and oft-overlooked issue: the need to put the Lifeline Program on a hard budget.
Twenty20

Is this the beginning of the end of the sales-tax-free Internet?

Most consumers know that many online retailers do not collect sales tax unless they have a presence in the buyer’s state. Fewer consumers know that although the seller is under no duty to collect in these circumstances, the buyer is often still obligated to pay that tax directly to the government. To improve compliance, Colorado wants online retailers to inform you of your obligations — and to report sales to the state to assist its revenue collectors. Earlier this month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state’s efforts to convert e-retailers into involuntary tax snitches — though the Supreme Court is likely to have the final word on the constitutionality of its plans.
Twenty20

Net neutrality’s next frontier: Usage-based pricing and zero-rating

The Open Internet movement started as a means of protecting consumer welfare in cyberspace. Consumers were the focus of then-FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s 2004 Four Freedoms speech and the subsequent policy statement, which together outlined the agency’s initial vision for good network management practices. But somehow on the path from policy statement to binding rules, the commission’s focus shifted from consumer welfare to that of edge providers. Now, as the commission begins to gather information about innovative new broadband models such as T-Mobile’s Music Freedom and Binge On offerings, we run the risk of the commission sacrificing consumer choice to safeguard the interests of Internet-based service providers.