Telecommunication Law and Regulation Classes

These Classes explore the rules and standards of U.S. telecommunications law. We examine the market structures and regulatory treatment of a number of related electronic communications technologies—from wireline and wireless telephony to t.v. to the Internet backbone—whose convergence and recombination continue to challenge frameworks first established decades ago. We focus most intently on the work of the Federal Communications Commission, the lead agency in the field, paying special attention to its implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. We also consider the ways that antitrust, intellectual property, and free speech principles constrain telecommunications law and policy.

Hi Ira Gorelick and welcome to this series of lectures on the economics of net neutrality.


I want to start with sort of a foundational thinking here in the sense that whenever we look at, at our communities, um, whatever our thinking is about how the communities do work always carries with it an inherent notion of how the communities should work.


And so these lectures that I’m putting forth on economics are intended to focus on how our communities do and should work. And I’m going to focus on it from an economic standpoint As I always do. I have a learning objective. Um, intent is very important in communication.


So what’s my intent on these series of lectures? It’s to be able to describe the optimum role of the community in managing commerce in general and Internet in specific. So I’m interested in the role of the government and role of the community and commerce in general, but I think net neutrality and the Internet is, and telecommunications is a great opportunity to study that in specific and then see if the rules apply.


So what I want to do by the end of this series of lectures would be able to understand the economic basis that could help us figure out the optimum role of the community in commerce. And also I want to understand some of the differences between the economic thinking of the early part of the 20th century since that’s when one of the first telecommunications laws were passed and the economic thinking today. So let me tell you what I believe. Let me start it off here because I want you to know my bias. Remember in the, in the overview lectures, I talk about confirmation bias and all the biases.


So I want you to know what my biases as we go through this and, and my initial biases. I do not want the government to mandate and enforce net neutrality. So in the, in, in, in the, the, the, those that want net neutrality and those that don’t, I tend to look more on the net on the no net neutrality side. However, and this is an important, however, I do want a few carefully crafted rules to be enacted to ensure optimum Internet effectiveness.


So while I don’t want the government to mandate this thing called net neutrality, I do have some specific things I do want the government to do in order to shoot, assume optimum Internet effectiveness. Yeah. And one specific role that I want to see is transparency. And in terms of economics, this is going to be important in terms of, we talk about asymmetrical information versus symmetrical information, perfect. A competition and so on. Okay. So how did I get to wear what I believe? I believe essentially free markets are good, but I also believe there are bad actors that can hinder the optimum functioning market.


So I also believe that minimally, carefully crafted rules are necessary for an optimum functioning market. And by the way, I’m under this whole class is going to be trying to support these views a of mine. Now, when we say minimally crafted rules, what I’m talking about, his rule sets standards of good behavior.


So they good actors know what good behavior is and the courts can determine then what bad behavior is. And I think rural should meet three tests. They should be narrowly crafted, only address compelling community interests and achieve the goal. Now in the next series of lectures on, on, on telecommunications regulations and on political action, I’ll go more into details on how the rules are set, but just have this as your background to has I move forward. I also believe that there must be penalties for violating the standards of good behavior. The specific penalty must be commensurate with the harm violating the standard does to the community. So Jay walking has a different perspective, a different penalty than murder might have, does have.


So the intent of this class is to articulate why I believe all this and I want to ask you to tell me if my conclusion was a correct or not. So I’m going to ask for your help in this and if you think they are not correct to tell me why. So I can change to the [inaudible] conclusions. This class, like all my classes are not, don’t exist as a thing. They exist as a continuum and I’m hoping that the dialogue between me and you, we will help to improve the class every time. It’s taught, as I’ve talked about earlier, there are multiple states. I have five steps to learning process. Um, the three that are important here are one is to set a learning objective. We have that learning objective and that is to figure out the optimal role of the community in commerce. Uh, in order to do that, you need to understand as much about the thing you want to learn as possible.


So we’re going to learn about what economics is and what is commerce and, and how the community can have a role in that. And also in the process, I want to learn as much about myself as possible. Um, you know, what are my biases? What do I believe and is what I believe, correct. I only have two rules in this class. One is no personal or add Honamin attacks.


So let me give you an example of what I would think to be an Ottoman attack, a personal attack. Here’s something out of Misa Stop Org that I found a quote says, essentially say’s laws as a stern and proper response to the various economic ignoramuses. Well, I see that as a personal attack. There’s no reason to use the word ignoramuses. The chances are that people who are attacking whatever say’s laws is, I have no idea what say’s law is, but whoever is attacking it, um, I don’t think it could be called an ignoramus. I think we need to make sure that, that we be careful that we don’t have any personal attacks.


 Now, if there’s something’s wrong with ses laws, then then we can have arguments in favor or opposed, but there’s no reason to use names and call people names. My, my key here, my rule is just give others respect. I that that’s so important to me. And you know, if you disagree with their conclusions, either explain why their conclusions are wrong or provide alternative conclusions. You know, I think that a reason a lot of people we spawn w we sought to personal attacks is that they can’t argue the conclusions, that they just have a belief and they don’t know why they believe it. And so rather than try to, to disagree on a rational basis, they go to a personal attack.


So I’m really asking in our discussions that we don’t do that the way I’ve divided this class up his into three broad categories. I’m going to talk about definitions first. Um, like caught, where does commerce, what is the community, what is government, what a rational actors.


And then I’m going to go into specific terms in detail in terms of how they were applied, like supply and demand. I’m going to spend a lot of time on information and transparency, spend a lot of time on invisible hand, uh, on natural monopolies since that’s key and telecommunications. And then finally I’m going to end with a discussion of the schools of thought. I’ve listed three here. Uh, but I might have, have some more by the time we get to the end. So, oh, so the next series of lectures, I’m going to go over the economic terms that need definitions. Uh, so thank you very much and I hope you enjoy this class.