- "Democrats Attack Move to Weaken Net Neutrality," InfoWorld Netherlands, March 31, 2006.
"Consumers don't buy broadband for the transmission network itself, added Randolph May, a senior fellow at conservative think tank the Progress and Freedom Foundation. 'If [providers] are going to invest billions of dollars building out new broadband networks, it is safe to assume that the operators will not find it in their interest to block or impede subscribers from accessing services and content that the customers find valuable,' May said.
- "Violent Videogame Concerns Are Aired in Senate Hearing," Consumer Electronics Daily, March 30, 2006.
"Such a law would kill the industry's rating system from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), said Adam Thierer, senior fellow and dir. of the Center for Digital Media Freedom. 'The unintended consequence of all these regulatory proposals would be the likely abandonment and eventual destruction of the ESRB,' he said. Enacting such a proposal would raise major First Amendment concerns, Thierer said."
- "Experts Clash on Split Between Licensed, Unlicensed Spectrum," Washington Internet Daily, March 29, 2006.
"In a 2nd spectrum-related panel, Thomas Lenard of the Progress & Freedom Foundation said he's heard few coherent arguments to justify municipalities like Philadelphia competing with industry to offer wireless or wireline broadband. Virtually every study performed so far cuts against municipal investment, he said: 'If the govt. comes in and starts building supermarkets, is it more or less likely that Safeway is going to come in and open a supermarket? It's got to be less likely. That's kind of common sense.' A number of municipal buildouts have been studied in some depth, he said: 'None of them was able to cover costs without being subsidized... The ventures that I studied looked like they'd be a definite drain on the taxpayer.'"
- "Privacy Chief Leaves Commerce for PFF," National Journal's Tech Daily, March 28, 2006.
"After two years at the Commerce Department, Dan Caprio is leaving his post as deputy assistant secretary for technology policy and chief privacy officer to join the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a market-oriented think tank."
"Caprio, a fan of the vision of limited government espoused by former President Reagan, said he was drawn to the new position at PFF, not driven to leave Commerce by the prospect of belt-tightening. 'The opportunity to join PFF was such a fabulous opportunity that I couldn't pass up,' he said. 'I think Robert will be successful as undersecretary.'"
- "Aides Defend TV 'White Space' Bills, See 'Consensus Document' Emerging," TR Daily, March 27, 2006.
"At a Capitol Hill luncheon panel discussion sponsored by the Progress & Freedom Foundation, however, a representative of a broadcasting industry group expressed concern that millions of unlicensed devices that could potentially operate in the TV band could cause harmful interference to TV stations, while several panelists said the unused spectrum should be auctioned instead. Those speakers argued that exclusive licensing of the channels would provide economic incentives for more efficient use of the spectrum and enable any potential interference to be addressed more easily."
"However, Thomas Lenard, a senior fellow and vice president-research at PFF, and Alice Tornquist, VP-government affairs for Qualcomm, Inc., said unused TV channels should be auctioned off and licensed on an exclusive basis, rather than being made available for free. Not only would such a regime ensure a more efficient, market-based use of the frequencies, but it would offer a better way to keep track of any sources of interference, they said."
- "Cooling Down of 'Bedford Diaries' Makes FCC Policy a Hot-Button Issue," Boston Globe, March 25, 2006.
"'This game is up,' said Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a market-based think tank in Washington, D.C. 'They're just continuing to try to exert whatever authority they have, and all they really have is authority over broadcast television and radio. This policy is now highly illogical, increasingly unworkable, and blatantly unfair.'"
- "Video Game Warrior," The Washington Times, March 25, 2006.
"As Adam Thierer notes in a new report from the Progress and Freedom Foundation, 'the industry's ratings system is the most sophisticated, descriptive, and effective ratings system ever devised by any major media sector in America.' It includes seven symbols, ranging from 'EC' (early childhood) to 'AO' (adults only), and more than 30 descriptions of potentially inappropriate content."
- "No Harm Yet for Content, VoIP from Network Owners, Bells Say," Washington Internet Daily, March 24, 2006.
"Senate Commerce Committee Chmn. Stevens (R-Alaska) earlier compared defining net neutrality to defining a vacuum, said Progress & Freedom Foundation's Randolph May. With that ambiguity, 'the adoption of a common carriage model for the broadband era' is likely if net neutrality principles are enacted into law. May cited Sen. Wyden's (D- Ore.) net neutrality bill (S-2360) for its reference to 'just, reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates' - central terms from common carriage policy. Case-by-case adjudication of disputes -- 'I'm sure there will be claims of abuse' -- would let the FCC handle the issue 'in a much more tailored way' than a blanket rulemaking or legislation, he said. PFF is supporting Sen. DeMint's (R-S.C.) Digital Age Communications Act (S-2113), largely based on PFF's proposal and in direct contrast to Wyden's bill."
- "Net Neutrality Permeates TelecomNext Regulatory Debate," Washington Internet Daily, March 24, 2006.
"The entry of govt. into regulation of open services such as the Internet can be a 'slippery slope,' said Kyle Dixon of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. If the FCC steps in to guarantee access, 'then what of price?' He said he didn't see the existence of consumer harm that necessitated any action."
- "Lawmakers May Dodge Fight Over Internet Fees," MarketWatch, March 23, 2006.
"'As with most regulatory battles, it becomes about the companies,' said Kyle Dixon, a former FCC official now at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a free-market oriented think tank focused on high-tech issues. "This is a debate about who gets what.'"
- "The Other Clinton's Seduction of the Innocent," Reason, March 23, 2006.
"As Adam Thierer notes in a new report from the Progress & Freedom Foundation, 'the industry's ratings system is the most sophisticated, descriptive, and effective ratings system ever devised by any major media sector in America.' It includes seven symbols, ranging from 'EC' (early childhood) to 'AO' (adults only), and more than 30 descriptions of potentially inappropriate content."
"Thierer argues the threat of fines or criminal charges for failing to keep M-rated games away from minors could lead game developers to stop rating their products, in which case Congress would respond by establishing a mandatory government-run labeling system. Such content regulation would go even further than state laws restricting video games, all of which have been overturned on First Amendment grounds, largely because courts rejected Clinton's assertion of 'a clear...connection' between video games and anti-social behavior."
- "Videogames," Consumer Electronics Daily, March 21, 2006.
"Federal, state and local proposals to regulate videogame content are fueled by myths that don't justify govt. action, the Progress & Freedom Foundation said Mon. In 'Fact and Fiction in the Debate Over Videogame Regulation,' Adam Thierer contends legislative efforts arise from misperceptions about videogames; stringent industry self- regulation works, he said. Misperceptions include assertions that the voluntary ratings system is flawed and not enforced, and that most game titles contain excessive violence or adult material, whereas last year only 13% of games got a 'mature' or 'adults only' rating from the ESRB."
- "Telecom," National Journal's Tech Daily, March 20, 2006.
"Using an 'unfair competition' standard as the basis for rewriting the nation's telecommunications laws would let Congress sidestep any need for anticipatory regulations governing 'network neutrality,' according to a Monday statement by scholars affiliated with the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Because 'the framework contemplates a case-by-case approach that allows technical and business innovation,' Northwestern University law professor James Speta said, 'a thicket of constraining ex ante rules' -- including anti-discriminatory net neutrality requirements -- is not necessary. 'The framework's reliance on competition law and economics also provides sufficient analytic power and regulatory tools to address any truly anticompetitive foreclosures that occur on the Internet,' said Speta, who co-chaired the project's regulatory framework working group. Five PFF working groups have drafted model legislation that has been introduced, almost exactly, by Sen. James DeMint, R-S.C., as the Digital Age Communications Act, the name PFF gave to its project."
- "SAFE WEB Act Passes Senate; Stearns Seen as House Sponsor," Washington Internet Daily, March 20, 2006.
"House Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chmn. Stearns (R- Fla.) is a likely sponsor for a companion bill, Progress & Freedom Foundation's Patrick Ross told us. Stearns introduced the only cross-border fraud bill in that chamber in recent years, the International Consumer Protection Act of 2003 (HR-3143). That measure got stuck in the International Relations Committee. 'I would fully expect Stearns, now that he's got the Senate behind him, to move comparable legislation in the House,' he said. Stearns couldn't be reached for comment."
- "FCC Releases Indecency Orders," Tech Law Journal, March 15, 2006.
"Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation stated in a release that the FCC's orders 'represent a significant expansion of its content control regime. The agency is testing the limits of its own powers to regulate speech. The silver-lining here might be these fines provoking a court challenge, and the courts finally revisiting the scope of the First Amendment in an age of convergence and media abundance.'"
"'The courts have grown less tolerant of government restrictions on media in recent years, especially for new technologies like the Internet. With broadcasters now being challenged by a staggering array of multi-media competitors and devices, the courts will be less likely to support tradition 'scarcity-based' rationales for broadcast industry content regulation. The fact that the fines were this steep could make the court's job even easier in that regard.'"
- "FCC Record Indecency Fines Criticized as Not Setting Clear Precedents," Communications Daily, March 17, 2006.
"The fact that 'shit' can't generally be used but euphemisms for it are okay highlights uncertainty, said The Progress & Freedom Foundation's Adam Thierer. The FCC isn't 'providing broadcasters with the clarity they need to make programming decisions,' he said. 'This is going to tee up what is ultimately going to be a historic First Amendment decision' by a court, perhaps the Supreme Court, he said."
- "Spectrum Use and Reform Highlight Senate Committee Hearing," TMCnet, March 15, 2006.
"Lawrence J. White, the co-chair of a Working Group convened by the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) to offer a 'New Spectrum Policy' for the US highlighted the 'Release 1.0' and submitted it for record. The release was mainly to state that the current spectrum management has yielded and will continue to yield large and growing inefficiencies in the use of the spectrum while a system that would rely primarily on a framework of fully developed property rights and markets in spectrum would greatly benefit the US economy."
- "Senators, Witnesses Hail Promise of Freeing Up Vacant TV Channels," TR Daily, March 14, 2006.
"During the [Wireless Issues/Spectrum Reform] hearing, several senators seemed intrigued by a report released last week by a Progress & Freedom Foundation working group that said the government should transition to spectrum-management regime that relied on a property rights-based approach. Sen. Stevens told Lawrence White, an economics professor at New York University who cochaired the working group, that he wanted to hold a hearing in the future to 'explore your suggestions.' But he said it was too drastic a proposal to include in the Telecom Act update legislation. 'It's a good suggestion,' the senator said, but he said transitioning to the new approach could be difficult."
- "Bucking Tradition: PFF Champions Market-Based RF Spectrum-Reform Moves," Telecom Policy Report, March 13, 2006.
"The most recent Progress & Freedom Foundation work - being offered as a model for new telecom policies as part of its Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) project maintains the reforms it recommends are among the best ways of promoting innovation and the development of new technologies."
- "Blackburn Looks for Franchise Provision in the House Commerce Bill," TR Daily, March 10, 2006.
"Speaking at an event sponsored by the Progress & Freedom Foundation, Rep. Blackburn said she thought the prospects were 'very good' for getting telecom legislation enacted this congress, and that she was encouraged at a recent Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing she attended that 'nearly everyone who spoke seemed to be on the same page and seemed to be in favor of the franchise' provision. Regarding the expected House Commerce bill, she said, 'We have yet to see a final draft.'"
- "Panelists Debate Worthiness of Further Unlicensed Allocations," TR Daily, March 10, 2006.
"Panelists at a Washington event sponsored by the Progress & Freedom Foundation today debated whether the FCC should make additional spectrum available for unlicensed use or transition exclusively to a property rights-based regime."
"The discussion was held one day after PFF released a report that recommended the government grant licensees property rights and then let the market determine the best use of frequencies. It rejected the 'commons' approach, opposing future unlicensed allocations by the government. The report was prepared by a working group as part of PFF's Digital Age Communications Act project."
"The working group's co-chairs, Thomas Lenard, a senior fellow and vice president-research at PFF, and Lawrence White, an economics professor at New York University, outlined the report, with Mr. White saying the property rights regime was 'really the only way to move to efficient allocation' of spectrum."
- "Telecom Bill Consensus on Franchising Upsets Cable Industry," Communications Daily, March 10, 2006.
"House Majority Leader Boehner (R-Ohio) is among backers of the [telecom] bill. 'With his [support] we have a good chance to have significant legislation passed,' former House Majority Leader Dick Armey told a Progress & Freedom Foundation event. Barton's bill likely will have a federal franchising framework, said Armey, who favors the concept as better for companies. But he told us legislation probably will have to include 'some accommodation to the states' acknowledging lawmakers' concern over states rights."
- "USF Costs to U.S. Economy Goes Beyond Payments into Fund," Communications Daily, March 10, 2006.
"Fixing USF won't be easy, said Ray Gifford, pres. of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'It's a very difficult problem and I don't want to minimize it,' Proponents of change will have to overcome resistance from rural phone companies, which Gifford described as 'a class of companies who are highly dependent on the current [USF] system, will be dependent on some sort of system going forward.'"
- "Draft Bill Spurs Criticism Across Political Spectrum," National Journal's Tech Daily, March 10, 2006.
"Adam Thierer, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, called the [telecom] agreement 'significantly more regulatory than the status quo.' In addition to the uniform pricing rule and net neutrality, he voiced concerns about language to prevent 'redlining,' or deploying video service only to areas with higher incomes."
"'The first day flush toilets were invented, they took some time to reach every household,' Thierer said. Similarly, high-speed Internet service is 'certainly going to come to affluent neighborhoods first.'"
- "Predicting Communications Prices," Tech News World, March 10, 2006.
"'In this business, scale really matters. It's like NFL linemen. You want 'em big, you want 'em fast, but most important, you want 'em big,' [former FCC Chairman Reed] Hundt said recently. This apparent reversal of opinion by Hundt was noted by Adam Thierer, analyst for the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Writing for the Technology Liberation blog, Thierer noted that just ten years ago, Hundt considered an AT&T/BellSouth merger unthinkable, yet today he is practically promoting it."
"'I have to give Hundt credit for recognizing the changed competitive landscape since 1997,' Thierer said. 'Long-distance has largely been cannibalized by the rise of rigorous wireless competition and flat-rate nationwide calling plans. The Internet is everywhere, which means IP-enabled calling is a new threat to the old players. And the old Bell copper empire has now become a copper cage they are fighting their way out of.'"
- "AT&T-BellSouth Hinges on Internet," The Deal, March 9, 2006.
"Any [Department of Justice]-ordered divestitures in the BellSouth takeover, however, will likely involve only a few midsized cities where fiber-ring providers are limited, primarily in BellSouth's core market in the Southeast, said Ray Gifford, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'I don't get sense that DOJ will be any more aggressive on this merger,' said Gifford, who opposes the proposals to force the FCC to strengthen net neutrality rules."
- "Telecom," National Journal's Tech Daily, March 9, 2006.
"A senator with a bill to radically restructure telecommunications law on Thursday criticized House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton for compromising with people who believe in regulation. 'These packages are trying to entrench the old system, when the old way of doing things is gone,' Sen. James DeMint, R-S.C., said at a Progress and Freedom Foundation event."
- "Spittoons and Quills But No Laptops, Please," Business Week, March 9, 2006.
"'The rules persist even as senators are increasingly wired. Many have embraced PDAs and PCs. 'These items have become indispensable for many senators, especially when their time is double- and triple-booked,'' says Patrick Ross, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation. Indeed, Ross says, some senators have been sighted 'discreetly checking their BlackBerrys' during debate."
- "AT&T-BellSouth Hinges on Internet," The Deal, March 9, 2006.
"Any DOJ-ordered divestitures in the BellSouth takeover, however, will likely involve only a few midsized cities where fiber-ring providers are limited, primarily in BellSouth's core market in the Southeast, said Ray Gifford, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'I don't get sense that DOJ will be any more aggressive on this merger,' said Gifford, who opposes the proposals to force the FCC to strengthen net neutrality rules."
- "Report: Clear Spectrum Ownership Would Drive Wireless Innovations, RCR Wireless News, March 8, 2006.
"'First, the lack of property rights in such an approach would discourage large private investment in spectrum technology and would slow or hinder innovation in spectrum-based services,' stated a press released issued by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. 'Second, without a market mechanism for determining price or the opportunity costs of spectrum usage, it would be difficult to determine the most efficient allocation.'"
- "Spectrum," National Journal's Tech Daily, March 8, 2006.
"Most electromagnetic spectrum should be made private property as soon as possible, according to the fifth and final report of a free-market think tank that has developed proposed telecommunications legislation. 'The market-based property system is pretty well dominant, and it is hard to envision any significant cases where any of the other systems would be better,' said Thomas Lenard, senior fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, which proposed the report as part of its Digital Age Communications Act project... The report identifies five ways to move to property rights, and the three politically viable ones are: auction spectrum with the right to clear existing users from frequencies, auction spectrum without the right to clear incumbents, and conduct a 'big bang' auction of all frequencies."
- "Early Opposition to AT&T-BellSouth Deal Focus on Consolidation, Net-Neutrality," TR Daily, March 7, 2006.
"Progress & Freedom Foundation President Ray Gifford and PFF senior fellow and Director-communications policy studies Randolph May argued that there is no need for conditions on the merger."
"Mr. May said, 'Hopefully, the FCC will stick to the competition aspects of this merger, and not use it as an opportunity to placate every special interest that will seek to get something out of the regulatory review of this transaction. Responsible merger review will require the FCC to examine harms, if any, arising from this merger alone, and not use it as a leverage point to extort broader concessions from the merging companies. At first glance, a horizontal merger like this should face few regulatory hurdles.'"
- "Merger Turning Up the Heat on Qwest," Rocky Mountain News, March 7, 2006.
"But [PFF President Ray] Gifford did say he believes Qwest needs to strike a balance between improving its financial structure - so the telco is even more attractive to a potential merger partner - and investing enough in its network 'to meet the competitive onslaught from cable. They really do need to have the capital to invest or they'll die a slow death.'"
"Gifford sees the current wave of Bell mergers as mostly defensive moves against cable companies, with the next consolidation wave likely to involve content and application providers."
"Communications transport through fiber-optic pipes has essentially turned into a commodity business, he said."
"'Unless (the Bells) own their own content, they're not going to get that much of the consumers' dollars,' Gifford said. 'The consumer will pay for sports, not for a pipe.'"
- "AT&T Buys Bellsouth," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution March 7, 2006.
"This is a horizontal merger between companies with no overlapping territories or assets," Ray Gifford, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market-oriented research group, said in a written assessment of the deal."
"The merger appears to present no great problems."
- "Two Phone Giants to Unite," Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2006.
"Ray Gifford, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free market think tank based in Washington, said bringing AT&T's broadband policies to BellSouth's customer base is a positive development."
"'This transaction appears inevitable and desirable for broadband consumers,' Gifford said. 'The only surprise is that it happened so quickly.'"
- "Sen. Wyden Introduces Net Neutrality Bill," Tech Law Journal, March 2, 2006.
"Ray Gifford, President of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, responded that [the Internet Non-Discrimintaion Act of 2006] bill 'would ultimately harm consumers because it would discourage network buildout and the new entrants in the broadband platform market. The Act would also possibly deny consumers choices based on use, speed and bundling of services. By denying consumers this choice, individuals accessing the Internet sparingly, such as for e-mail access, would be subsidizing those using much more of the available bandwidth for applications such as streaming video. A market-based alternative, relying on antitrust-like enforcement which looks to consumer welfare harm, would protect consumers from market power abuse while encouraging both network investment and application innovation."
- "PFF Paper Advocates Empowering Authors," Tech Law Journal, February 28, 2006 2006.
"[PFF's Ross] writes that the content companies that serve as intermediaries and distributors are represented in Washington DC, as are their ideological opponents from academia and advocacy groups who advocate free culture. Much of the paper is a rebuttal of Lawrence Lessig's book titled 'Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity'. "
"Ross argues that in addition to the free culture movement, the end users, and the content companies, there are also the artists who create the works that make up the culture. He argues that 'it is critical that the artist be given greater respect'."
- "Wyden Seeks Equal Treatment in Net Neutrality Bill," Washington Internet Daily, March 3, 2006.
Reactions [to the bill] were mixed. Progress & Freedom Foundation Pres. Ray Gifford said it would harm consumers by discouraging network buildout and possibly driving away new entrants to the broadband platform market. Consumers also might suffer by having fewer choices of speed and bundling of services, he said. Low-volume users, such as consumers who use e-mail only sparingly, 'would be subsidizing those using much more of the available bandwidth for applications such as streaming video,' Gifford said. Instead, a market-based alternative relying on antitrust-like enforcement is a better choice, he said. This would 'protect consumers from market power abuse while encouraging both network investment and application innovation,' he said."
- "Telecom Industry Considers a la Carte Internet," NBC News, March 2, 2006.
"It's all being discussed at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a think tank funded by the telephone, cable and media industries. This network's parent, NBC Universal, is a member."
"'I don't think this is corporate greed,' says Adam Thierer with the Progress and Freedom Foundation. ‘This is the beginning of a new business model for the Internet.'"
- "Experts Urge Federal Government to Adopt Incentives to Improve Spectrum Efficiency," TR Daily, March 1, 2006.
"Ellen Goodman, an associate law professor at Rutgers University, said Congress should allow private ownership in spectrum and require the FCC to develop an interference dispute resolution process. She suggested that FCC administrative law judges be used to handle interference disputes. Randolph May, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, agreed."
"While Mr. May said Congress should modify section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, to allow private ownership in spectrum, Stuart Benjamin, a law professor at Duke University, said much can be done to provide 'meaningful exclusive use' and 'more robust secondary markets' without congressional action."
- "Complaint Fraud; Data," Reason, March 1, 2006.
"But as Adam Thierer of the Progress & Freedom Foundation pointed out in a report that same month, two little-noticed methodological changes have greatly inflated official tallies of indecency complaints. In July 2003 the FCC began counting each computer-generated e-mail message from a single group as a unique complaint. In early 2004 it began separately counting copies of the same message sent to different offices at the FCC."