Harold Feld

Stoping the 5G Digital Divide Before It Happens

As predicted 10 years ago, in the absence of anti-redlining provisions, carriers have not invested in upgrading their broadband capacity in communities of color at anything close to the same rate they have upgraded in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. As a result, the urban digital divide is once again growing. It’s not just that high-speed broadband is ridiculously expensive, although this is also a serious barrier to adoption in urban areas.

Cost of Exclusion as a Proxy for Dominance in Digital Platform Regulation

While many regulations promoting consumer protection and competition apply throughout a sector, some economic regulations apply to “dominant” firms or firms with “market power.” Behavior that is harmless, or potentially even positive when done by smaller companies or in a more competitive marketplace, can be anticompetitive or harmful to consumers when done by dominant firms -- regardless of the firm’s actual intent.

Defining “Digital Platform”

[Analysis] Digital platforms that (a) provide a two-sided or multi-sided market; (b) are accessed via the internet; and (c) have at least one side that is marketed as a “mass market” service, share a set of characteristics and raise a similar set of concerns so that we should consider them as a distinct set of businesses. This does not make laws of general applicability such as antitrust inapposite. Nor are these distinct capabilities and incentives intrinsically bad or good.

Why Platform Regulation Is Both Necessary and Hard

[Analysis] As digital platforms have become increasingly important in our everyday lives, we’ve recognized that the need for some sort of regulatory oversight increases. We have reached the point where we need sector-specific regulation focused on online digital platforms, not just application of existing antitrust or existing consumer protection laws.

So What The Heck Does 5G Actually Do? And Is It Worth What The Carriers Are Demanding?

I have spent the last two weeks or so doing a deep dive on what, exactly does 5G actually do — with a particular emphasis on the recently released 3GPP standard (Release 15) that everyone is celebrating as the first real industry standard for 5G. My conclusion is that while the Emperor is not naked, that is one Hell of a skimpy thong he’s got on. More precisely, the bunch of different things that people talk about when they

Farewell to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

[Commentary] Many people understand the duty of public service. But for Mignon Clyburn, it is a calling. Too many people who care deeply about social justice dismiss communications law as a wonky specialty. Those with the passion to follow the instruction of the prophet Isaiah to “learn to do good, seek justice, comfort the oppressed, demand justice for the orphan and fight for the widow” often chose to go into fields where this struggle is more obvious such as civil rights or immigration law.

How Popular Is Net Neutrality? Opponents Have to Hide They Are Campaigning Against It.

What really sets DC apart is our advertisements. The political ads never stop. Particularly when a major vote is about to happen — such as the upcoming vote in the Senate on S. J. Res. 52, aka the “net neutrality CRA,” aka the repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. On May 9, Senator Markey will file the resolution to force the vote — which is expected to actually happen soon.

Net Neutrality Does Not End Today. We Still Don’t Know When It Will. Which Is Weird When You Think About It.

There is a lot of confusion on the effective date for the 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal Order, aka “Restoring Internet Freedom — Which Is Not In The Least Overdramatic Unlike You Hysterical Hippies.” This is not surprising, given the rather confusing way the Federal Register Notice reads.

Better Privacy Protections Won’t Kill Free Facebook.

Setting aside that some people might actually like the option of paying for services in exchange for enhanced privacy protection, history tells us that advertising can support free content just fine without needing to know every detail of our lives to serve us unique ads tailored to an algorithms best guess about our likes and dislikes based on multi-year, detailed surveillance of our every eye-muscle twitch. Despite the unfortunate tendency of social media to drive toward the most extreme arguments even at the best of times, “privacy regulation” is hardly an all or nothing proposition.

7 Reasons Why The AT&T/TW Trial Matters So Much The Future of Antitrust

[Commentary] Whether the AT&T-Time Warner deal goes through or not is super important for all the usual reasons relating to media concentration, competition in telecommunications, and all that other stuff I usually care about. But the AT&T/TW trial raises a lot of super important questions for the future of antitrust enforcement. Specifically, does antitrust law care about vertical integration or not?