Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons is a visiting fellow 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. Before joining the faculty, Professor Lyons practiced energy and telecommunications law at Munger, Tolles & Olson and at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles. Professor Lyons earned both his bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from Harvard University and after graduation, he clerked for Hon. Cynthia Holcomb Hall on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California.
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Setting the record straight on usage-based pricing

Last week, the Government Accountability Office released some preliminary findings from its ongoing investigation of usage-based pricing. This investigation came in response to a May 2013 request by Representative Anna Eshoo, the ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications. Although the GAO stressed that its findings were preliminary, and that its final report would be completed in November, Representative Eshoo seized upon the release, urging FCC Chairman Wheeler to regulate “data caps” (notably, the GAO never used this loaded and somewhat misleading term), which Eshoo portrayed as a “new threat to the free and open Internet.” In light of this rhetoric, it is worthwhile to review what the GAO actually said, and to set the record straight on the issue of usage-based pricing.
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Title II does not prohibit paid prioritization

Much of the controversy surrounding the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding involves the issue of paid prioritization: whether an Internet content or application provider can pay for priority delivery or minimum guaranteed speed over last-mile broadband networks. Opponents of prioritization have endorsed reclassification under Title II as the only solution to prohibit such agreements. But a careful look at the history of Title II’s nondiscrimination obligations shows that this is not the panacea that net neutrality advocates seek – because, as Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly stated, Title II would permit prioritization. Title II Section 202 prohibits telecommunications providers from engaging in “unreasonable discrimination.” Courts and the Commission have subjected Section 202 claims to a three-part inquiry. The plaintiff must show that two services are “like” services, and that customers of the two services have been treated differently in the provision of the service. If the plaintiff meets these two hurdles, the burden then shifts to the telecommunications provider to show that the disparity in service is reasonable.

Disclosing interconnection agreements creates anticompetitive risks

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it had begun reviewing the recent interconnection agreements that Netflix signed with Internet service providers Comcast and Verizon. The Commission’s growing interest in the heretofore unregulated interconnection market has prompted some commentators to renew their calls for all interconnection agreements to be filed with the Commission and made publicly available. Greater transparency, they argue, would provide consumers a better understanding of the economics of the Internet ecosystem beyond last-mile broadband networks, and would help the public police potential anticompetitive risks.
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Mobile video on the rise: Regulating disruptive competition

Online video continues to assert its claim to the title of Killer App of the Early 21st Century. On Tuesday, Cisco Systems released its annual Internet traffic forecast, which Re/code amusingly summarized with the headline “Cat Videos, Binge TV Watching Will Account for 84 Percent of Internet Traffic.” Another study released this week suggests that Netflix is making significant inroads into traditional pay television markets....

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In Chile, net neutrality widens the digital divide

With much fanfare, Chile famously enacted the world’s first net neutrality law in 2010. But last week, policymakers applied the law in a way that is likely to be much less popular with consumers. Subtel, the country’s telecommunications regulator, ruled that net neutrality prohibits so-called “Free Social Media” mobile plans that have proven popular in Chile...