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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Net neutrality and the return of state regulators

Recent history is littered with the corpses of once-venerable institutions whose very existences were disrupted by the Internet. Blockbuster Video. Borders. The Encyclopedia Britannica desk set. Legal geeks like me might add another entry to this pantheon: state telecommunications regulators. In the heady days of the Bell monopoly, state regulators reigned alongside the FCC as co-sovereigns, setting the rates and terms of service for intrastate communications, which many considered more essential than long-distance. But as the Internet replaced the telephone system as America’s primary telecommunications network, state authority receded. The FCC classified broadband as an information service and largely preempted state regulation. State regulators may not have disappeared completely, but it appeared that, like local newspapers, they were destined for a much more circumscribed role in the Internet age.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before a Senate hearing in Washington, May 12, 2015. REUTERS

Regulating interconnection: The FCC has a role to play, but it’s more limited than they’d like

Barring a stay, the FCC’s Open Internet order is set to take effect later this month. And although much of the analysis thus far has focused on the rules regulating traffic over last-mile broadband networks, the most far-reaching aspect may prove to be the commission’s decision to regulate interconnection. It is also perhaps the most surprising aspect. Since launching its net neutrality proceeding in 2009, the commission repeatedly insisted that it had no desire to regulate the Internet. As late as mid-2014, Chairman Tom Wheeler explained that interconnection is “not a net neutrality issue” and a commission spokesman clarified that “[p]eering and interconnection are not under consideration in the Open Internet proceeding.”
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Why we need a market-driven, consumer-focused revamp of the Lifeline program

The basic tenet of universal service – that the government should assist those who cannot afford basic access to the telecommunications network – has long been a cornerstone of the nation’s telecommunications policy. As I have discussed in an earlier post, this assistance is justified by network effects: the larger the number of people a network reaches, the more valuable that network is to each user. Universal service also supports non-economic goals such as improved civic participation, enhanced economic opportunities, free speech, and public safety. As the telephone gives way to the Internet as the nation’s primary telecommunications network, Congress must consider options to narrow the digital divide and assist low-income consumers who cannot afford basic network access.

Google wireless and the evolution of usage-based pricing

Google made headlines last month when it announced it was bringing its magic to the wireless market. Its new service, Google Fi, will be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that connects consumers via wifi networks and the T-Mobile and Sprint wireless networks. Although Google Fi is not a facilities-based entrant, commentators hope that Google will disrupt the wireless broadband market the way its Google Fiber offering has impacted fixed broadband networks.
Broadcast by Shutterstock.com

Title II and the future of LTE broadcast

Over the past 18 months, LTE broadcast has garnered significant buzz as one of the just-around-the-corner technologies that will help optimize the wireless experience. On the eve of the 2014 Super Bowl in New York, Verizon Wireless demonstrated the service, showing how it might someday solve the bandwidth problems that caused the NFL to blackout streaming video at stadiums. Since then, both Verizon and AT&T have invested significantly in the technology and are expected to debut services later this year. As the wireless industry analyzes the changed legal landscape following the FCC’s reclassification decision, the always-insightful Phil Goldstein at FierceWireless asks an interesting question: what does Title II mean for LTE broadcast? The answer is not as clear as one may think – but it may provide hope for those worried about how future innovation will fare under the FCC’s new framework. LTE broadcast is a technology that facilitates multicasting over wireless networks. With traditional streaming, a content provider sends an individual copy of requested content to each consuming device.