On January 29, 2010, the Free State Foundation will hold the Second Annual Winter Telecom Policy Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC from 9 AM to 2 PM. The conference speaker line-up and registration details are here.
Early Termination Fees ("ETFs") are in the regulatory gun sights, with the FCC last week asking Verizon Wireless for information concerning its ETF practices and some members of Congress taking an interest as well in ETF terms and conditions. In a new paper, "Let Competition and Choice Check Wireless ETFs", Free State Foundation Adjunct Fellow Seth L. Cooper concludes that "[l]egislative or regulatory actions that, in effect, amount to price regulation in a market that earlier this year the FCC declared effectively competitive would not only be paternalistic, but counterproductive and innovation-stifling overkill as well." While acknowledging that nobody likes to pay higher rather than lower fees, Mr. Cooper points out that "the apparent good intentions animating ETF-critics' call for regulation ignores the other side of the equation – the pro-consumer benefits of ETFs that reduce or eliminate the up-front cost of wireless devices and make the devices more economically feasible for consumers." He explains that ETFs give providers the certainty that they will capture their subsidy of wireless devices from consumers who enjoy the lower up-front cost. Read the full press release here.
Free State Foundation President Randolph May was quoted approvingly in the lead editorial in the September 28, 2009 Washington Post opposing the FCC's proposal to impose net neutrality mandates. Read the editorial, "The FCC's Heavy Hand," opposing net neutrality here.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal on September 19, 2009, entitled, "U.S. as Traffic Cop in Web Fight," Free State Foundation President Randolph May was quoted opposing the plans of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to propose new rules to regulate the Internet. May stated: "With only a few isolated instances of complaints alleging net neutrality-like abuses ever having been filed, it is a mistake." Read the full article here.
Free State Foundation President Randolph J. May submittted reply comments in the FCC's proceeding to develop a national broadband plan. In his comments, May urged the FCC to reject the proposals of those parties urging the agency to adopt a plethora of new broadband regualtions. Instead, May stated, "the Commission must make clear that the national plan will be grounded in market-oriented principles that reflect the competitiveness and dynamism of the digital age." Read the press release here and the full reply comments here.
In comments submitted on June 8, 2009 to the FCC, Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation, urged the Commission to build some flexibility into the development of a national broadband plan in order to preserve "private sector discretion for adaptation and experimentation." May also recommended that the Commission ground the plan in certain fundamental free market-oriented principles that will "facilitate continued progress towards ubiquitous access to, and greater usage of, ever more advanced broadband capabilities." The FSF press release is here and the full comments can be read here.
Maryland state government’s structural deficits will continue for another five years and beyond unless it makes major reforms in its mandated spending, entitlements and formulas, according to a new study released by the Free State Foundation. The study is entitled, "Curing Maryland's Structural Deficits: A Call for Mandate Reform." Read the full press release here and the new study here.
In comments submitted on March 20, 2009 to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service, Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation, urged the two agencies, in implementing the broadband funding program "to consider the extent to which free market-oriented principles can be incorporated into the implementing rules and policies." May acknowledged that to some extent it is ironic to speak of free market principles in the context of a large government stimulus program. But he stated: "The point here is not to get hung up debating the ideal way to promote economic recovery, but rather to suggest concrete ways in which the broadband portion of the stimulus package can be carried out most efficiently to achieve maximum impact with the taxpayers' dollars."
The agenda for the Free State Foundation's February 26 "New Directions in Communications Policy" conference has been announced, with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and former FCC Chief of Staff Blair Levin slated for keynote roles. In releasing the agenda, Free State Foundation President Randolph May stated: "I am really gratified that we were able to put together a conference in which so many of today's acknowledged communications policy thought leaders are participating. With the extraordinary lineup of speakers, I have no doubt that the forward-looking discussion we will have concerning new directions in communications policy will be impactful." The conference runs from 8:45 AM – 4:15 PM at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, Washington, DC. The full press release is here.
Former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Tate joined the Free State Foundation as a Distinguished Adjunct Senior Fellow. Tate, an attorney and mediator, served as an FCC Commissioner from January 2006 until January 3, 2009. Tate will contribute scholarly articles and other pieces for publication by FSF and participate in FSF policy conferences and educational seminars. In announcing Tate's appointment, Free State Foundation President Randolph J. May stated: "It is an honor to have someone who has such a long and distinguished career in public service affiliate with the Free State Foundation. Her expertise, experience, and dedication to the development of sound free market-oriented communications policies will enable her to make a valuable contribution to FSF's work." Read the full press release here.