A New Kingsbury Commitment: Universal Service Through Competition?
Thursday, December 19, 2013
11:30 - 12:00 Registration & lunch
12:00 - 1:45 Event & live stream
Join TechFreedom on Thursday, December 19, the 100th anniversary of the Kingsbury Commitment, AT&T’s negotiated settlement of antitrust charges brought by the Department of Justice that gave AT&T a legal monopoly in most of the U.S. in exchange for a commitment to provide universal service.
The Commitment is hailed by many not just as a milestone in the public interest, but as the bedrock of U.S. communications policy. Others see the settlement as the cynical exploitation of lofty rhetoric to establish a tightly regulated monopoly — and the beginning of decades of cozy regulatory capture that stifled competition and strangled innovation.
So which was it? More importantly, what can we learn from the 70-year period before the 1984 break-up of AT&T, and the last three decades of efforts to unleash competition? With fewer than a third of Americans relying on traditional telephony and Internet-based competitors increasingly driving competition, what does universal service mean in the digital era? As Congress contemplates overhauling the Communications Act, how can policymakers promote universal service through competition, by promoting innovation and investment? What should a new Kingsbury Commitment look like?
Following a keynote address by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a diverse panel of experts, including Harold Feld and Hance Heney, will explore these questions and more. Space is limited so RSVP now if you plan to attend in person. A live stream of the event will be available on this page. You can follow the conversation on Twitter on the #Kingsbury100 hashtag.
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