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Comments on Communications Act Modernization

7 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014  

Richard Bennett

Engineering Consultant; High Tech Forum

Jeffrey A. Eisenach

American Enterprise Institute; NERA Economic Consulting

James K. Glassman

George W. Bush Institute

Bronwyn E. Howell

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Management

Justin (Gus) Hurwitz

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law

Roslyn Layton

Aalborg University, Center for Communication, Media and Information Studies

Bret Swanson

Entropy Economics LLC

Date Written: January 31, 2014

Abstract

We, the undersigned scholars at the American Enterprise Institute's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, respond below to your request for comments on your white paper on “Modernizing the Communications Act.”

Our comments are based upon two foundational points. First, the historical silo-based approach to communications regulation is inapposite to the modern communications ecosystem. Second, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC,” or “Commission”) functions are largely duplicative of those of other agencies. It is therefore our view that Congress should revise the approach taken by the Communications Act, eliminate the silo-based structure and replace it with a technology-neutral, competition-oriented approach. Concurrent with this process, Congress should rationalize the Commission, apportioning the majority of its functions and resources to its sister agencies. In particular, Congress should consider merging the FCC’s competition and consumer protection functions with those of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), thus combining the FCC’s industry expertise and capabilities with the generic statutory authority of the FTC. More broadly, it is our view that many of the important functions and resources currently housed in the Commission can be redeployed – not eliminated – to yield a more coherent and streamlined regulatory edifice that would more effectively serve the goals of consumers, competitors, and Congress.

Keywords: FCC, FTC, #CommActUpdate, Communications Act, consolidation, silo, communications regulations, Internet

Suggested Citation

Bennett, Richard and Eisenach, Jeffrey A. and Glassman, James K. and Howell, Bronwyn E. and Hurwitz, Justin (Gus) and Layton, Roslyn and Bret Swanson, Comments on Communications Act Modernization (January 31, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2388723 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2388723

Richard Bennett

Engineering Consultant ( email )

869 S. Cole Dr.
Lakewood, CO 80228
United States
415-967-2900 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bennett.com

High Tech Forum ( email )

869 S. Cole Dr.
Lakewood, CO 80228
United States
415-967-2900 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://hightechforum.org

Jeffrey A. Eisenach (Contact Author)

American Enterprise Institute ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

NERA Economic Consulting

1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20037
United States
202-466-3510 (Phone)
202-466-3605 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nera.com

James K. Glassman

George W. Bush Institute ( email )

2943 SMU Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75205
United States

Bronwyn E. Howell

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Management ( email )

Wellington 6001
New Zealand
+64 4 463 5563 (Phone)
+64 4 463 5566 (Fax)

Justin (Gus) Hurwitz

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States

Roslyn Layton

Aalborg University, Center for Communication, Media and Information Studies ( email )

A.C. Meyers Vænge 15
Frederikskaj Bldg., 3rd Floor
Copenhagen, 2450
Denmark
+45 9940 3641 (Phone)

Bret Thomas Swanson

Entropy Economics LLC ( email )

156 S. First Street
Zionsville, IN 46077
United States
(317) 663-0509 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://entropyeconomics.com

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