Possible Paradigm Shifts in Broadband Policy

I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Vol. 9, P. 367, 2015

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-43

31 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015

See all articles by Christopher S. Yoo

Christopher S. Yoo

University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication; University of Pennsylvania - School of Engineering and Applied Science

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Debates over Internet policy tend to be framed by the way the Internet existed in the mid-1990s, when the Internet first became a mass-market phenomenon. At the risk of oversimplifying, the Internet was initially used by academics and tech-savvy early adopters to send email and browse the web over a personal computer connected to a telephone line via networks interconnected through in a limited way. Since then, the Internet has become much larger and more diverse in terms of users, applications, technologies, and business relationships. More recently, Internet growth has begun to slow both in terms of the number of connections and overall traffic. The major exception to this pattern is wireless, which has exhibited accelerating growth and has begun consistently to provide speeds in excess of 10 Mbps. Moreover, the emergence of the smartphone provides the most recent example of how changes in collateral technologies can play a key role in transforming network usage. These changes underscore that the Internet may be undergoing a paradigm shift and that generalizing from the past serves little purpose when circumstances have materially changed. Furthermore, policymakers should avoid regulating based on any particular vision of the technological future. Instead, they should craft policies designed to preserve room for experimentation with different approaches, which will require tolerating a significant degree of nonuniformity, uncertainty, and disruption.

Keywords: Telecommunications law and policy, wireless transmission, Federal Communications Commission, FCC, broadband technology, competition, internet access, mobile devices

JEL Classification: K23, L86, L88, O31, O38

Suggested Citation

Yoo, Christopher S., Possible Paradigm Shifts in Broadband Policy (2015). I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Vol. 9, P. 367, 2015; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706831

Christopher S. Yoo (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/faculty/csyoo/

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )

3620 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6220
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)

University of Pennsylvania - School of Engineering and Applied Science ( email )

3330 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6309
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)

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