Where Does the U.S. Really Stand on Broadband and Do Policy Makers Have the Tools to Know?

Center for Public Integrity and Progress & Freedom Foundation to Co-Host Conference on Broadband Issues
Where Does the U.S. Really Stand on Broadband and Do Policy Makers Have the Tools to Know?

Is U.S. broadband adoption keeping pace with other countries? How can American legislators, regulators and citizens better track broadband policy? What data do policy-makers need to make crucial broadband policy decisions? Experts from industry, journalism, think tanks and interest groups will convene to discuss these and other questions at a June 28th forum co-hosted by the Center for Public Integrity and The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

As high-speed Internet access becomes an increasingly critical part of the economy and daily life, broadband has grown into a crucial public policy issue. At this open public forum, held at the National Academies of Sciences, policy makers, broadband providers, consumers, advocacy organizations, the media and public will hear vital, practical information on this often-technical subject.

“The data currently available may not be the most useful information for making effective broadband policy decisions,” said Scott Wallsten, senior fellow and director of communications policy studies at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. “Empirical analysis is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of any policy and good data are the key to rigorous analysis.”

“In the telecom world, everyone is talking about how mapping Internet penetration can help the U.S. bring broadband to more citizens,” said Drew Clark, senior fellow and project manager for the Center. “Our organization provides free information about the companies offering broadcast TV, radio and cable by ZIP code. We want to do the same for broadband.”

This conference on broadband statistics comes as Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are considering greater detail in broadband data collection; public-private initiatives, such as ConnectKentucky, are helping spur technological transformation; and a Center lawsuit seeks to obtain the names of broadband providers from the FCC.

The conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon and feature topics and experts across the broadband spectrum:

Panel I: “What Do We Know About Availability and Use of Broadband in the United States?”

Moderated by Drew Clark, with panelists:

Joseph Waz, Vice President, External Affairs and Public Policy, Comcast
Derek Turner, Research Director, Free Press
Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation
John Horrigan, Associate Director, Research, Pew Internet & American Life Project
Kenneth Flamm, Dean Rusk Chair on International Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Dennis Weller, Chief Economist, Verizon Communications

Panel II: “What Kinds of Broadband Data Collection Policies Should the U.S. Employ?”

Moderated by Scott Wallsten, with panelists:

Beth Shiroishi, Senior Director, Regulatory Policy & Planning, AT&T
Mark Lloyd, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Drew Clark, Senior Fellow and Project Manager, Center for Public Integrity
Laura Taylor, Vice President, Research, ConnectKentucky
Clair Kaye, Treasurer, Cumberland Internet Inc.
Colin Crowell (invited), Professional Staff Member, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

Conference on Broadband Statistics
Thursday, June 28, 2007
9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
National Academics of Sciences
2100 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
FREE and open to the public

About the Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based organization that does investigative reporting and research on significant public issues. Since 1990, the Center has released more than 300 investigative reports and 15 books. It has received the prestigious George Polk Award and more than 20 other journalism awards and 16 finalist nominations from national organizations, including PEN USA and Investigative Reporters and Editors. In April 2006, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized the Center with a national award for excellence in online public service journalism for the fifth consecutive year. In October 2006, the Center also was honored with the Online News Association’s coveted General Excellence award.

About the Progress & Freedom Foundation

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. Its mission is to educate policymakers, opinion leaders and the public about issues associated with technological change, based on a philosophy of limited government, free markets and individual sovereignty. PFF's research combines academic analysis with a practical understanding of how public policy is actually made. Its senior fellows and other scholars are leading experts in their fields, with distinguished careers in government, business, academia and public policy. Its research is substantive, scholarly and unbiased. At the same time, PFF is focused on having an impact on public policy.