Roundup of Recent D.C. Telecom Events

Washington, D.C. has seen some great events on telecommunications and technology policy recently, as enormous attention has been focused on the Federal Communications Commission’s recent notice of proposed rulemaking on “Restoring Internet Freedom.”

The most recent was the Free State Foundation’s 9th annual telecom policy conference on Wednesday at the National Press Club, featuring a lunch-time discussion with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. This year’s conference theme was “A New Direction for Communications Policy: Less Regulation, More Investment and Innovation.” The Free State Foundation’s annual conference is one of the nation’s top events for communications law and policy, and speakers this time discussed the most important communications and Internet policy issues of the day, including net neutrality, privacy, 5G networks and spectrum policy, universal service, and FCC institutional reform.

CEI recently hosted two timely and compelling events focused on telecom policy as well. On May 17th, we welcomed former FCC chief economist and current Clemson University economics professor Thomas Hazlett at a reception to celebrate the launch of his most recent book, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone. CEI Regulatory Counsel Ryan Radia interviewed Hazlett about the topics in his book and took questions from the audience. Video of the event via Mollie Dreisbach from Facebook Live below.

A day earlier on Capitol Hill, CEI President Kent Lassman hosted a briefing with FCC Chairman Pai for congressional staff. Additional commentary was provided by Geoff Manne of the International Center for Law and Economics, the Mercatus Center’s Brent Skorup, and CEI’s own Ryan Radia. Congratulations to my colleague Taylor Barkley for being the M.C. behind the scenes.

That week also coincided with CEI’s release of a new short paper by Ryan Radia and Jessica Melugin, “A Net Neutrality Primer: Should the Internet Be Regulated Like Ma Bell?” and the fact sheet “Net Neutrality 101”. There are a number of other recent “explainer” articles, op-eds, and videos issued by other public policy groups on net neutrality, including a memorable conversation between Chairman Pai, FreedomWorks Director of Public Policy Jason Pye, and several delicious-looking pieces of pie.