The Case for a National Broadband Policy

June 15, 2007

Fueled by reports of America’s declining position in international broadband rankings, the debate over broadband policy has intensified in recent weeks. Some commentators have pointed to our falling rank as evidence of a problem that warrants a national broadband strategy. Others reject the premise that the rankings indicate a problem with broadband in the United States and worry that many regulations proposed in response to the lagging rankings would reduce investment in this critical infrastructure.

ITIF weighs in on this heated debate with a new report released at the event titled "The Case for a National Broadband Policy." In the report, Robert Atkinson finds that the United States has fallen behind in broadband, and makes the case for public policies to promote it. He documents four types of economic externalities that limit the market’s capacity to reach the optimal level of broadband adoption without policies to encourage deployment and uptake.

To discuss these findings and make sense of the competing claims, ITIF presented a dialogue between Scott Wallsten, Director of Communications Policy at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and author of the forthcoming ITIF report.

The debate was moderated by Kathleen Wallman, the former appointed Chair of the FCC’s National Coordinating Committee on public safety spectrum and a former Chief of the FCC’s Common Carrier Bureau.