The latest report from two leading broadband research organizations -- the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Silicon Flatirons Center -- summarizes a discussion among leading broadband experts on institutional strategies to advance broadband policy goals. The roundtable, which included Dick Lynch, Chief Technology Officer of Verizon, was moderated by Phil Weiser and Rob Atkinson.
The discussion converged on some important points. There was considerable agreement on the value of using targeted subsidies -- such as those in the broadband stimulus program -- to provide for ubiquitous broadband for a basic level of access, the need to ensure robust middle mile capability; and the potentially misleading nature of "peak" broadband speeds.
The roundtable left several issues on the table for further discussion. These included the nature of broadband competition and the role of next generation wireless networks; whether the network provider or the consumer should control network management; and the optimal strategy to guarantee that broadband providers continue to provide robust and growing levels of basic best efforts access to the public Internet.
Yet there were also areas of disagreement. The roundtable analyzed but did not reach closure on how to evaluate the nature and extent of broadband competition, how to think about the best way to engage in network management, and to what extent regulatory oversight will be necessary to ensure an adequately robust level of basic Internet access going forward.
The new ITIF-Silicon Flatirons report, A Roundtable on the End of Scarcity, Open Architecture, and the Future of Broadband Competition Policy, is a summary of that roundtable discussion.