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Focus on Broadband Advancement Has Gradually Shifted, Say Authors

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WASHINGTON, September 11, 2009  - The Free State Foundation on Thursday hosted conference to celebrate its new book, “New Directions in Communications Policy,” with contributions by members of the think tanks academic board.

Speaking at the event, John Mayo, a professor of economics, business and public policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and contributing author, said that the focus on broadband advancement is a shift that has happened before.

“From 1996 to 2008, there was a focus of deploying broadband,” he said. “Now the main focus is on the deploying and adoption of broadband.”

However, in the collection of essays, author Christopher Yoo, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communications, said that there was much to be learned from previous internet advances.

Comparing the expansion of the internet to building bigger pipes – not dissimilar to former Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens’ statement that the internet was “a series of tubes” – Yoo said that “using different technological solutions is the same as building bigger pipes; it is not always the solution. The bigger pipes don’t always protect it from surges.”

Yoo said that internet problems needed to be treated on a case-by-case basis, by finding small fixes for small problems.

Added Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker: “We cannot pretend we are starting with a clean slate.”

“We have to know where we are coming from and where we are going with broadband services,” said Baker. She also applauded the “fact-based” approach that the FCC seemed to be taking with regard to its broadband plan.

Randolph May, president of the Free State Foundation, said that he began his search for scholarly articles for the new book in the summer of 2008.

“I knew that there was going to be a significant change in 2009 [in terms of broadband],” he said.

Broadband Breakfast Club

Don’t miss the opportunity to register for the September 15, 2009, Broadband Breakfast Club at Clyde's of Gallery Place. The theme of the September meeting will be, “Setting the Table for the National Broadband Plan.” Register at

Confirmed panelists for the event include Joe Waz, Senior Vice President, Comcast; Aaron Smith, Research Specialist, Pew Internet & American Life Project; Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director, New Networks Institute; and Joanne Hovis, President-Elect, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

An intern at the National Journalism Center and a student at American University’s Washington Semester Program, Christina is a Reporter-Researcher for She is a student at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

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