Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee concludes another round of public commenting on its effort to update the Communications Act of 1934. The focus of this round was what role Congress and the FCC should play in the market for interconnection of networks. The Committee’s white paper notes, “The historic, ‘natural’ monopoly that justified special rules to govern ILECs has faded in the years since 1996; there is inarguably more competition...
State of the Net, a large DC conference that brings together telecom lobbyists, reporters, entrepreneurs, policymakers and even an academic or two to speak on developments in the Internet ecosystem. One of the most riveting keynote speakers was Fred Ehsram, co-founder of Coinbase, who spoke on the future of the Bitcoin financial market. Bitcoin, it seems, is growing up. Exciting things are on the horizon for this “peer-to-peer” digital currency, which allows individual users to transact directly, without an intermediary like a bank or credit card company. The details for how one can “earn” Bitcoins are intricate, but for the uninitiated, the emphasis of the system is on facilitating a “peer-to-peer” relationship. If this sounds familiar, it should; it harkens back to the ancient tradition of bartered exchange.
AEI/UNL/FCC conference at the Federal Communications Commission on Regulating the Evolving Broadband Ecosystem. It has been wonderful to hear and discuss the communication issues of the day with serious, thoughtful academics and professionals. But yesterday, I found it impossible to stop the flood of memories from 13 years past. We of a certain age will forever remember where we were when we first heard that a plane had crashed into a tower at the World Trade Center. For many on the East Coast, radio or television broke the news. On the West Coast, I was awakened by a terrifying phone call from my sister-in-law in Manhattan. Located several blocks away from the towers, she had seen the first plane hit. I knew she was scared, I knew she was leaving her building and, most thankfully, I knew she was safe. As I sit and listen to many of our brightest speak of the future of communications, I think of that one call and two words come to mind—thank you. Thank you to the engineers, technicians, builders, investors, regulators and visionaries who made that call possible. In the hours that followed the fall of the towers – an unthinkable collapse that took down a large swath of communications infrastructure -- I was, almost miraculously, able to reach friends and relatives living in Manhattan and D.C.
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.