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February 2006

  • "Wireline," Communications Daily, February 27, 2006.
    "The FCC is using a 'hoax' argument that the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution process is broken to justify fee hikes, a citizen group charged Fri. The USF contribution formula 'requires at most minor adjustments that can be accomplished without hefty increases in federal phone fees,' the Keep USF Fair Coalition said. The group opposes FCC Chmn. Martin's proposal to move from a long distance revenue- based system to one based on how many telephone numbers a carrier serves, claiming it would penalize low-volume long distance callers. At a news event set for today (Mon.), the group will discuss 'the phony USF funding crisis.' A Tues. Senate hearing will address USF contribution methodology. Progress & Freedom Foundation Pres. Ray Gifford said the coalition's view 'is contrary to established fact.' The long distance industry, which is the basis for the current contributions system, 'is in decline and it makes no sense as a funding vehicle for universal service in the age of VoIP technology.' A PFF working group has endorsed per-line fees."
  • "FCC endorses right to buy cable by the channel," North County Times, February 27, 2006.
    "[PFF's Patrick] Ross disagreed that network neutrality is that important. Choice is important, he said. The more ways a customer can get TV or Internet services, the better market competition will work to satisfy demand."
    "Cable regulation was justified when cable television was a legal monopoly, Ross said. But now that there are satellite TV services and the prospect of more competition, it makes less and less sense, he said. "
    "'You've got cable, you've got two satellite systems, you've also got telco (telephone companies), you've got the power lines -- that's five, with more to come,' Ross said. 'That looks like robust competition.'"
  • "Foundation: Radio Ownership Reform Needed," Sky Report, February 24, 2006.
    "Media ownership regulations and other restrictions on terrestrial broadcast radio should be relaxed in order to allow the business to compete with alternative providers and technologies, including satellite radio, states Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation in a recent report addressing media ownership reform."
    "The paper comes as one lawmaker, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), pushes for additional tiers to current ownership caps, which Thierer says 'is an important step in closing the regulatory gap between broadcast radio and competing platforms.'"
  • "Lawmakers' Role in Data Breaches Debated," eWeek, February 21, 2006.
    "The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a market-based think tank in Washington, released a position paper Feb. 20 calling on policy makers to move carefully before imposing any new rules on companies that hold data."
    "PFF notes that the cost of not investing in improved security is rising, but the foundation maintains that consumers' perception of insecure data may be more harmful than the actual harm caused by breaches, especially if the perception prompts hasty legislative action."
  • "South Florida Could Go Wireless," The Miami Herald, February 20, 2006.
    "'I wouldn't get too excited if a city wanted to provide some sort of hot spot in a public park,' said Thomas Lenard, a fellow with the pro-business think tank, the Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'That's somewhat analogous to putting up a playground set.'''
    "But he added, 'in general, these cities should not be in the business of competing with private firms. They're playing with the taxpayers' money. These decisions are better made when they're playing with their own money, and have shareholders to answer to.'"
  • "House to grill Web firms on censoring for China," Boston Globe, Februray 14, 2006.
    "Officials for Cisco, Google, and Microsoft said they would reserve comment until the hearing tomorrow. But the companies are not without defenders. James DeLong, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free market-oriented think tank, said that the companies are playing a vital role in boosting China's access to the Internet."
    '''It seems to me we're better off to have them there,' he said. DeLong added that US firms had no business trying to dictate human rights policy to the Chinese: ''I don't think that American companies really ought to have their own foreign policy.'"
  • "Courts," Washington Internet Daily, February 13, 2006.
    "A 'loser pays' rule on lawyer fees in patent suits would discourage nuisance suits by encouraging defendants to sue, as opposed to settling, Progress & Freedom Foundation said. Patents are increasingly important and the U.S. Patent Office ineffective at screening weak patents, said the report, by PFF fellow Solveig Singleton. European and commonwealth nations' legal systems play by the loser-pays rule, so they 'have much less predatory litigation than in the U.S., making the rule attractive to advocates of tort reform,' Singleton said: 'The loser pays rule lessens the incentive to settle nuisance lawsuits just to avoid the high cost of litigation. In the long term, this could reduce the number of nuisance lawsuits as plaintiff's attorneys and repeat plaintiffs such as businesses gain experience with the new system.'"
  • "CAP Panel Boosts Muni Broadband," Communications Daily, February 13, 2006.
    "From the audience [of the Center for American Progress Forum], Progress & Freedom Foundation's Patrick Ross partly disagreed. Agreeing Graham's Scottsburg constituents are better off for his decision, he asked, 'How is he supposed to be able to get those users up to speeds capable of handling VoIP and video services? Spend more taxpayer dollars?' Ultimately, he said, a govt. entrant 'isn't part of the free market,' and won't keep value up and prices down. The federal govt. can free more spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed, he said, echoing Baller, and local govts. can 'help by freeing up rights-of-way not just to one commercial provider that wins a monopoly contract, but to any provider willing to invest in the community.' Ultimately, he said, any govt. entry will drift toward monopoly."
  • "Document Management Challenges Put Companies at Legal Risk," TechNewsWorld, February 11, 2006.
    "According to Solveig Singleton, an attorney with Washington D.C.-based Progress and Freedom Foundation, said several big cases are due to come before the Supreme Court this year that 'could change the overall direction of patent law substantially.'"
    "One such case is KSR International v. Teleflex, wherein the two autoparts manufacturers are arguing over IP in a gas pedal used in some General Motors (NYSE: GM) cars and trucks. 'This case is about what the standard is for declaring something obvious and therefore unpatentable. The current law laid down by the Federal Circuit is that one needs to be able to find some kind of 'motivation' or 'direction' in the prior art, or, documents used to describe the invention,' said Singleton. 'This is hard to do, not everything is documented, and the patent office is not good at finding non-patent prior art.'"
    "Singleton told TechNewsWorld she believes the Federal Circuit's test for obviousness is letting too many patents through. 'The Supreme Court has an opportunity here to address serious problems of patent quality and fix one small aspect of it,' she said."
  • "New Support For 'A La Carte' Cable TV," CBS, February 10, 2006.
    "'This new regulatory regime for cable could potentially have devastating impacts for our proverbial 500-channel universe of diverse cable offerings,' Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy, told CBS Radio News. 'It very well could be the case that government regulation here could destroy that diversity and drive out some of the smaller niche channels out there, which would find a difficult time surviving on their own in a la carte world.'"
    "'I think there are some concerns here that obviously go to the heart of media regulation in America and the question of (a) how far our government can go, and (b) if it does infringe upon the First Amendment when they do it,' said Thierer. 'It's probably motivated by the politics of the new chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin, who seems to be driven in this debate by his feeling that cable needs to 'be cleaned up.''"
  • "Censorship at core of debate for business practices in China," RCR Wireless News, February 10, 2006.
    "A more sympathetic view of China's Internet censorship was offered by James DeLong, senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation."
    "'In the end, search engines, even truncated ones, will contribute to the economic and political development of China ... The working out of this story will be one of the great tales of human history, for tragedy or triumph, depending on how it goes,' said DeLong. 'So Google should happily contribute to this effort, doing what it does, and avoiding the hubris of thinking it is responsible for China, or that it knows the answers. In this situation, good and evil are not self-evident categories.'"
  • "FCC Supports Program Bundling – in a la Carte Report," Communications Daily, February 9, 2006.
    "The report, which has no analysis of a la carte, instead focuses on a critique of the earlier study, said 2 observers we spoke with. 'It's really all focused on the bundling and types of bundling and never really gets to the pure a la carte analysis,' said Womble Carlyle's Ross Buntrock. 'I'm surprised it's not a little more meaty, given the time it took to get it out.' The report lacks 'clear data regarding the consumer benefits of the hybrid solutions,' Adam Thierer of the Progress & Freedom Foundation said: 'They turn around and provide more pragmatic middle ground solutions to move away from a radical pure a la carte proposal.' The report pushes cable discounts via different packages to boost consumer choice, said a person familiar with work on the study. FCC officials didn't respond to our inquiries."
  • "Cable a la carte endorsed," Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2006.
    "'Conservatives with a free market perspective also tend to object to imposed a la carte. Adam Thierer, writing Thursday on his Web log for the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free market think tank, called mandated channel choice a product of the 'government knows best crowd.'"
  • "State of the Net Notebook," Washington Internet Daily, February 9, 2006.
    "'Blogging changes everything and blogging changes nothing,' Progress & Freedom Foundation's Adam Thierer said Wed. at the annual State of the Net conference. He said the medium gives anyone with a computer and an Internet connection the ability to publish and broadcast their views to the world. Blogging has helped speed "the death of massification in an important way,' Thierer said -- but it hasn't changed how consumers take in information. The 80-20 principle that a small minority of content producers get most of the attention rings as true for blogging as it does for other media. But blogging is supposed to be 'the most egalitarian form of all media' so he wondered aloud: 'Is anyone listening?' Still, small-time bloggers' content has a "long tail,' Thierer said. Diverse viewpoints can be found, tapped, searched, explored and referred to for years to come."
  • "Without 'Net neutrality' will consumers pay twice?" CNET, February 7, 2006.
    "'What I worry about is that if we have mandated network neutrality that consumers will miss out on some enhanced functionality being developed by the phone or cable companies,' said Kyle Dixon, a senior fellow and director at the The Progress and Freedom Foundation. 'Fears of market dominance aren't to be dismissed, but I think there is a risk in assuming that there will be a market power problem before there really is one.'"
  • "Are Internet toll roads ahead?" The San Francisco Chronicle, February 7, 2006.
    "On the other side [of net neutrality] are phone companies, with support from the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, that want to charge for faster delivery and say competition will protect consumers..."
    "Foundation spokesman Patrick Ross said his group will tell senators that most parts of the country already have a choice between high-speed cable and high-speed telephone access, and that new wireless technologies will soon provide even more ways to deliver Internet content."
    "'Building a broadband network is costly,' Ross said, suggesting that the ability to create premium delivery services would spur investment while a network neutrality rule could discourage new Internet plumbing."
  • "Ten Years Of Telecom Transition," Tech Daily, February 6, 2006.
    "Bell companies chafed under those rules for many years. Many commentators saw unbundling as an expensive and failed quest to manage competition. 'The FCC's major fault was interpreting the unbundling obligations in a way that was too excessive,' said Randolph May, director of communications studies at the Progress and Freedom Foundation."
  • "Local Politics Put Squeeze on Wi-Fi," Wireless Week, February 1, 2006.
    "It all goes to show that in moving forward with their plans, big cities have to be meticulous in more than just their technical strategy for Wi-Fi networks, says Tom Lenard, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation. They have to think about details and how to navigate the political and technical landscapes efficiently. 'There are lots of things besides technology to think about,' he says."
  • "Common-Sense Legislation for the Broadband Era," IT&T News, February 1, 2006.
    "DACA is by far the boldest among the telecommunications bills introduced in Congress. Yet it is also the simplest. It seeks neither to shackle service providers nor coddle them. The bill respects market forces and does not assume that to create opportunities for one group the government needs to penalize others."
    "The DACA bill draws heavily from work spearheaded by the Progress & Freedom Foundation, which in turn sought input from a number of free-market think tanks across the country, including The Heartland Institute."

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