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Future of Communications Regulation - Surviving the Push Towards Public Utility

Larry Downes, Consultant/Author, Independent/TechFreedom

Date: Tuesday, June 28

Time: 2:40 - 3:00 PM

Location: Salon E

Category: Policy & Regulation

The communications industry, like other information technology industries, really only obeys one law, and that is Moore's Law. As the computing revolution continues its relentless journey into the realm of faster, smaller, and cheaper, global consumers stand on the brink of anytime, anywhere supercomputing in the palm of their hands. 

The mobile Internet, like its predecessors, comes at a price: revolutionary change is chaotic, hard to predict, and impossible to regulate. That leaves national and state agencies with a market problem. The technologies they're authorized to oversee fade as consumers embrace the newest new. The urge to expand the business is innate, and plenty of self-appointed consumer advocates cheer on the call for regulatory expansion. 

Recently, the call has come to clear away the details and get down to the real business: regulating communications, information exchange, and most of the I.T. as an "utility," like water and power. 

My talk will review the utility model and why it is a remarkably poor fit as a regulatory metaphor for communications.

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