Georgetown University

From a Silk Purse to a Sow’s Ear? Implementing the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment Act

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) included some $42.45 billion to ensure “access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband” throughout the United States. However, $42 billion is unlikely to be sufficient to serve all households. To maximize the number of households receiving service, awards need to ensure sufficient quality at the lowest cost.

Georgetown Law’s New Institute for Technology Law & Policy Announces Appointment of Gigi Sohn as Distinguished Fellow

Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy today announced the appointment of Gigi Sohn as a Distinguished Fellow. A renowned public interest lawyer who has worked in communications and technology policy for nearly 30 years, Sohn recently concluded three years of service as counselor to then-Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. During that time, Sohn played a central role as the agency formulated and adopted key policies relating to net neutrality, broadband privacy, broadband access and other matters. Sohn’s work at Georgetown Law’s Tech Institute will focus on the vital role of open, democratic, accessible and affordable communications networks, media and technology. During her appointment, Sohn will publish articles, convene public events and contribute to Georgetown’s academic community.

Rethinking Children's Advertising Policies for the Digital Age

This article describes major changes in how video content and advertising is delivered to consumers. Digital technologies such as broadband allow consumers to stream or download programming. Smart phones and tablets allow consumers to view screen content virtually anywhere at any time. Advertising has become personalized and integrated with other content. Despite these major changes in the media markets, the framework for regulating advertising to children has not changed very much since the 1990s. This article argues that the existing regulatory framework must be reinvented to protect children in the digital age. It uses Google’s recently introduced YouTube Kids app (“YTK”), which is designed for use by children aged 5 and under, to illustrate a range of unfair or deceptive marketing practices – such as unboxing videos, brand channels, and influencer videos. Many of the videos available on the YTK app, would violate the FCC’s children’s television rules if they were shown on broadcast or cable television. The article describes the relative roles and effectiveness of the FCC and FTC in preventing advertising that takes advantage of children, who because their cognitive abilities are still developing, do not distinguish advertising from other content or understand the purpose of advertising. It identifies the traditional rationales for limiting advertising to children and finds that the same or greater concerns exist today. Finally, it discusses the prospects for updating protections for children in the digital age.