Telecommunications Policy

Race, ethnicity, and telecommunications policy issues of access and representation: Centering communities of color and their concerns

This paper examines how and why activist groups representing marginalized communities of color are increasingly engaging in communications technology policy issues, particularly in relation to issues of digital access and representation.

Effects of broadband availability on total factor productivity in service sector firms: Evidence from Ireland

While broadband is widely believed to augment productivity, there is little firm-level evidence of a generalised causal effect. In this paper we examine whether the introduction of digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband services increased firms' productivity in nine sub-sectors within the services and distribution sector in Ireland from 2006 to 2012. Firm-level panel data on firms' characteristics are linked to spatial information on the rollout of DSL.

Are social media companies motivated to be good corporate citizens?

This paper explores the connection between corporate social responsibility and social media safety. By examining the legal framework governing social platforms in the United States and case studies of online harms, we explore whether current US laws and company content moderation policies are effective in eliminating content (revenge porn and acts of terrorism) that is universally agreed to be harmful. Finally, the paper makes a number of suggestions for improvements in policy.

Fueling investments - The effect of the Agreement on Basic Telecommunications

As international agreements come under fire from current politics, it becomes ever more important to investigate the effect of such agreements. The telecommunication sector is of special interest due to its growing importance in the digital age. International law came into play in 1998 when the Agreement on Basic Telecommunications (BTA) entered into force. It demanded far-reaching liberalization reforms and was signed and ratified by 66 countries. A difference-in-differences estimator is used to analyze if the treaty had an impact on investments in telecommunications.

Reforming the FCC's Lifeline program: Regulatory federalism in action?

This paper considers whether common national standards for determining participants' eligibility and designating service providers in the Lifeline program are preferable to a decentralized system where state utility commissions have greater influence over these program parameters. Two recent decisions of the Federal Communications Commission, a 2016 Order and its reversal in March 2017, on the designation of Eligible Telecommunications Carriers to provide broadband Lifeline service, centered on this question.

A new direction for the net neutrality debate

In recent years, the Federal Communications Commission has become a microcosm of the political battles in Congress. The Democratic-controlled Wheeler Commission entitled its Net Neutrality Order “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” Not to be outdone, the Republican-controlled Pai Commission that overturned that Order entitled its own “Restoring `Internet Freedom.” And like Congressional pronouncements, Commissioners look to grab headlines with dramatic statements of impending doom if their policies are not enacted.

The reluctant regulator: The Rural Utilities Service and American broadband policy

Drawing on the increasing body of literature on policy stakeholders and the ever-growing acknowledgement that communication policy is crafted by more than just parliamentarians and formal communication regulators this paper examines the role that another set of regulators plays in communication policy: agriculture regulators. Based on a study of the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), this paper explores alternative agents of communication policy.

Obtaining indirect internet access: An examination how reasons for internet non-use relate to proxy internet use

As participation in society becomes largely dependent on use of internet-enabled technologies, internet non-users may seek alternative ways of using the internet. Proxy internet use (PIU), where internet non-users ask internet users to perform online activities on their behalf, is a strategy for obtaining (indirect) internet access.