FCC Broadband Deployment Research workshop

The long-awaited video of the FCC’s December 10 workshop Review and Discussion of Broadband Deployment Research is finally on-line. This workshop featured discussions of Yochai Benkler’s controversial Berkman Center report on unbundled DSL and Bob Atkinson’s report on current broadband investment dynamics in the US. As the FCC put it:

As part of the Commission’s development of the National Broadband Plan, the Commission has requested two independent studies. The Commission asked Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society to conduct an expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world. The Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (“CITI”), based at the Columbia Business School in New York, conducted an independent outside expert review of projected deployment of new and upgraded broadband networks.

Benkler’s report was very politely decimated by Tom Hazlett, an actual economist who knows a thing or two about how Benkler cooked the books, intentionally or by bungling, and the relevant comparisons for the US. One of the many problems with Benkler’s report is that he didn’t do what the FCC asked him to do, which was to simply review the literature on international policies. Instead, he and his Berkman colleagues tried to aggregate all the data into a giant meta-study. Benkler violated the FCC’s “no original research” rule, which should have been familiar to Benkler given his fascination with Wikipedia.

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