Near and Far - Whither Telecoms/Internet Policy?

October 14, 2014
11:00am-12:00pm
Davis Auditorium
Speaker: Gerald Faulhaber, Professor Emeritus, Business Economics and Public Policy Dept., Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Professor Emeritus, Law School, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Telecommunications policy is currently at two critical junctures: a short-term transition and a long-term transition.  The short-term transition is to a new Chairperson of the Federal Communications Commission (Tom Wheeler) from the previous incumbent (Julius Genochowski).  The long-term transition is from the old world of circuit-switched telephony to a new world of IP-based global information flows among all manner of devices, in which voice telephony is simply an app.  While the change in technology is important, the potential changes in public policy are critical.  The Internet has not been subject to regulation, but it appears that Internet regulation is now on the FCC’s agenda; net neutrality and interconnection are driving many to advocate Title II regulation, which governed public policy toward the old Bell System.  In this talk, I discuss the impact of both of these transitions on the problems that must be solved and the institutions that must evolve.  In particular, is regulation of the Internet a Good Thing?

Speaker Bio

Gerald R. Faulhaber is Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Emeritus of Penn Law School. He served as Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission in 2000-01. His research is the microeconomics, management, and public policy aspects of technology and telecommunications firms. Professor Faulhaber's current research is wireless telecommunications, public policy and the Internet, and the political economy of regulation. He has also written on file sharing and music copyright, public safety radio, and network neutrality. He has published widely in professional journals, and is the author of several books, including European Economic Integration: Technological Perspectives and Telecommunications in Turmoil: Technology and Public Policy. He has served on numerous scholarly boards and review committees and was Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference in Washington, D.C. He was formerly an Associate Editor of the Journal of Industrial Economics, and serves on the Board of Editors of Information Economics and Policy. He served on the National Research Council's Committee for the Study on Issues in the Transborder Flow of Data. He was the founding director of Wharton's Fishman-Davidson Center for the Study of the Service Sector, from 1984 to 1989.

Prior to his academic career, Professor Faulhaber was Director of Strategic Planning and Financial Management at AT&T, after holding the position of Head, Economics Research at Bell Laboratories.

Professor Faulhaber has been invited to address academic and corporate audiences on economic policy and management issues in Australia, Korea, Germany, Italy, Spain, Guatemala, Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, and the (former) Soviet Union. He has held visiting appointments at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France; Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica, Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona, Spain; and Tsinghua University, Beijing, PRC. He has consulted on telecommunications privatization for the World Bank in Venezuela and Peru.


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