Implementing the Broadband Stimulus: Maximizing Benefits and Monitoring Performance

FEBRUARY 19, 2009
9:00am - 12:30pm
The National Press Club
Washington, DC

$6 billion or more of the overall economic stimulus package will be allocated towards the deployment and use of broadband communications services. The bill directs the FCC, NTIA, and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service (RUS) to adopt quickly the rules and regulations that will govern how the money will be spent. The implementing rules and regulations will determine who gets how much, what is built and how the stimulus will affect the broader economy. These agencies also control billions of dollars in other programs, such as the Universal Service Fund, grants and rural loan programs, which could also be focused on broadband stimulation. This symposium will consider how these considerable sums should be spent to achieve the greatest impact on jobs and economic growth.

9:00 SETTING THE STAGE: Introducing the Issues
Links to videos at

-John Mayo - Professor, Georgetown Univerity's McDonough Business School and Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Business & Public Policy - [Video]

-Eli Noam - Professor, Columbia Business School and Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information - [Video]


Summary of the plan
-How much is available?
-Statutory goals
-Implementation process
-Moderator: Robert C. Atkinson - Director of Policy Research, CITI - [Video]

-Blair Levin - Managing Director, Stifel Nicolaus - [Video]
-Jessica Rosenworcel - Senior Communications Counsel, Senate Commerce Committee - [Video]
-Questions & Answers - [Video - Part 1] - [Video Part 2]

Are there any relevant lessons from earlier US broadband acceleration efforts?
What can learn from other nation's broadband programs (i.e, Japan, Korea, Sweden)?
How might broadband stimulus programs affect:
-Telecom and internet competition?
-Applications and content?
-US telecom equipment suppliers?
What are likely to be the most effective ways to stimulate:
-Deployment in unserved/underserved areas?
-Availability of higher speed services?
-Adoption by consumers not currently using broadband?
How will accelerating broadband deployment create US jobs? What kind? How many? How quickly?
Can the economic impact of a broadband stimulus plan be estimated?
What are the job-creation and other multiplier effects benefits to the broader economy of:
-Deployment of broadband to currently unserved areas?
-Higher speed broadband to already served areas?
-Adoption of broadband by new users?
-Moderator: Linda Garcia - Director of the Communication, Culture and Technology Program, Georgetown University

-Raul Katz - Director of Business Strategy Research, CITI - [Presentation] - [Working Paper] - [Video]
-Robert D. Atkinson - Founder and President, ITIF
-John Horrigan - Associate Director, Research, Pew Internet and American Life Project - [Presentation] - [Paper] - [Video]
-Michel Guite - President, Vermont Telephone - [Video]

10:30 - 11:30 THE ALL-IMPORTANT RULES AND REGULATIONS: The Devil Will Be in the Implementation Details
What are the timelines for the implementing agencies? Can the schedules be met?
Are the statute's broadband speed thresholds "most of the time" minimums, tested averages, designed "up to" speeds, or something else?
What is an "underserved" or an "unserved" area for purposes of stimulus support?
Will "open access" or "non-discrimination" be required and how will the requirement be enforced?
And many additional implementation issues once the bill is passed

Moderator: John Mayo - Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy

-Jon Peha - Chief Technologist, Federal Communications Commission - [Video]
-Carolyn Brandon - Vice President, Policy, CTIA
-Larry Sarjeant - Vice President, Federal Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Qwest - [Paper]
-Rick Cimerman - Vice President, State Government Affairs, National Cable & Television Association - [Video]

11:35 - 12:15 SETTING GOALS AND MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE STIMULUS: How Will We Know If the Stimulus Is Working As Planned?

What useful lessons have been learned from RUS loan programs and Universal Service Fund and past social contracts?
How will the benefits of accelerated deployment be valued and measured?
Goal: numbers of additional homes servable and served with "broadband" in 9, 18 and 24 months
Goal: stimulus cost per additional home
Goal: price levels for various broadband offerings
Goal: increased usage in job-creating applications
Who will count the users in served and unserved, measure the speeds and determine the prices paid by consumers against the goals?
-Moderator: Andrew Kreig - Senior Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University & former President, Wireless Communications Association International - [Video]

-Dave Burstein - Editor, DSL Prime - [Presentation] - [Video]
-Robert Crandall - Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution - [Video]
-Len Waverman - Dean of the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary - [Presentation] - [Video]
-Scott Wallsten - Senior Policy Fellow, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute - [Presentation] - [Video]
-Lynne Holt - Public Utility Research Center (PURC), University of Florida - [Presentation] - [Video]

12:15 - 12:30 CONCLUSIONS - [Video Part 1] - [Video Part 2] - [Video Part 3]