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“Thomas Hazlett on Spectrum Policy” (Two Think Minimum)

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Today, we are delighted to have Professor Tom Hazlett. Tom was one of our very first guests back when we launched the podcast, and we’re delighted to have him back for an encore performance. He holds the H.H. McCaulay Endowed Chair in Economics at Clemson and also serves as the Director of Clemson’s Information Economy Project. He studies law and economics specializing in the information economy. He served as Chief Economist at the FCC and has held faculty positions at UC Davis, Columbia, Wharton, and George Mason. His research has appeared in countless peer-review journals and law reviews. That’s countless by me, because I haven’t counted, but it’s a large number. He also writes in the popular press with articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the New Republic, the Economist, Slate, and the Financial Times, where he was a columnist on tech policy from 2002 to 2011. His latest book, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, was published in 2017. Tom is on TPI’s Board of Academic Advisors. We are very grateful for that, and Tom is also one of Sarah’s advisors and a former boss.

Scott Wallsten:

Welcome back to Two Think Minimum, the Technology Policy Institute’s podcast. Today is Friday, January 22nd, 2021. I’m Scott Walston, President and Senior Fellow of the Technology Policy Institute, and I’m joined by Sarah Oh, Senior Fellow at TPI. Today, we are delighted to have Professor Tom Hazlett. Tom was one of our very first guests back when we launched the podcast, and we’re delighted to have him back for an encore performance. He holds the H.H. McCaulay Endowed Chair in Economics at Clemson and also serves as the Director of Clemson’s Information Economy Project. He studies law and economics specializing in the information economy. He served as Chief Economist at the FCC and has held faculty positions at UC Davis, Columbia, Wharton, and George Mason. His research has appeared in countless peer-review journals and law reviews. That’s countless by me, because I haven’t counted, but it’s a large number. He also writes in the popular press with articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the New Republic, the Economist, Slate, and the Financial Times, where he was a columnist on tech policy from 2002 to 2011. His latest book, The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, was published in 2017.

A couple of other things before we start. Tom is on TPI’s Board of Academic Advisors. We are very grateful for that, and Tom is also one of Sarah’s advisors and a former boss. Tom, welcome.

Tom Hazlett:

Thank you. It’s great to be here, and it’s great to see how Sarah grew up and became a huge success. That’s fantastic.

Scott Wallsten:

And it’s all thanks to you. So, let’s start off by talking about what is the biggest spectrum issue of the day, which is the C-band.  The FCC recently completed the clock auction phase of Auction 107, and we’re up to about $81 billion for 280 megahertz of this mid-band spectrum. Now, that’s being hailed as a huge success, but you might have another take on it.

Tom Hazlett:

Well, of course I do!  But, yes, relative to the alternative, like not having the spectrum reconfigured and made available for productive use, it is a huge success. And I want people to take notice. I would add that in addition to the $81 billion, there’s another $13 billion or so in moving costs, and so the actual demand for this is well over $90 billion. This is now something north of 40% of the total auction revenues brought in since we started this game in 1994.  You know that the money — revenues raised — is not a completely reliable metric of success, but the very important part of this policy experiment is that demands are registered by bids.  We do get some important understanding of what value is for the resource in question.  Now, these are very flexible use rights that are being issued. So, we have something going for us on the policy side, as lots of different business models and applications and network architectures can be constructed with these rights. 

We know that 5G is very popular due to international equipment markets and standardization. There’s a pretty good guess here that the 5G ecosystem is going to be the direct beneficiary, but there’s a lot of variation permitted. There’s going to be a lot of complimentary investment made, and it’s not that the government gets to take the money home that will ultimately prove most advantageous. In fact, I used to say about wireless license auctions, when it was a proposal some of us were pushing: ‘the only bad thing about auctions is that the government gets to keep the money.’  The big deal is not that the revenues are going to the Treasury, it’s that we are liberating radio spectrum, allowing it to serve customers.  There is a huge value there, and part of that value is revealed in license bids, but the biggest gains are more subtle benefits – consumer and producer surplus — on top of what we’re seeing in revenues collected for the licenses.

Consumer surplus is very likely to be some generous multiple of what the bids are, the latter of which reflect future financial returns (and profits) accruing to the competitors in the marketplace that get their hands on this bandwidth. So, the high prices provide a very important sign that we’ve actually been too conservative. It’s proof of concept that a lot of what many economists and analysts like myself have  been saying, that we have been way too conservative in allowing flexible use, exclusive rights to be moved into the marketplace and replace the old networks and old configurations of wireless.  That’s what we’re seeing here in this outpouring of demand to upgrade wireless networks using additional band access rights.

Scott Wallsten:

So, it shows this huge demand for this spectrum.  But didn’t you favor using a diiferent auction approach, changing the licenses to make them more flexible and tradable and then let the market sort it out?  Do the results say that the FCC auction mechanism was the right way to go? Or do you think the very high demand showed that maybe market forces would have been able to sort it out even without an auction?

Tom Hazlett:

Yeah. So, the important point to grasp is that market forces did assert themselves. This was not a top-down government project. In fact, you had a very common situation in the radio spectrum, the political radio spectrum, which is that we have old rules, decades-old, that have been rigidly applied, locking in something that seemed state-of-the-art in about 1980 and yet is completely outmoded today. That’s the C-band, 500 megahertz, a big swath of what we call mid-band spectrum, perfectly situated to accommodate vast new services, particularly in the 5G network technology. And they’re carting around video services to broadcast stations and networks and cable TV systems. That was great before there were fiber-optic terrestrial networks and we had much coarser technological solutions. So, satellite carriers were engaged in this business and weren’t making very much money at it.  They asked for permission to do something more productive with the bandwidth — not something that regulators in the US or around the world had focused on. These private interests discovered a better set of solutions and came to the Commission, filing a proposal for more expansive rights in the summer of 2017. The computer chip maker, Intel, collaborated on this, as they presumably wanted more spectrum for 5G and other wireless applications. This idea sat at the Commission for a while. Then, to its credit, the Pai FCC jumped on the bandwagon and actually surprised the market by embracing this proposal. And it went forward that there was going to be a liberalization of the rights and the primary immediate beneficiaries would be the interests that were pushing it.  The satellite licensees would invest several billions to upgrade the satellite space, both the Earth stations and the space transmitters, and that would free up radio spectrum.

They wouldn’t need anywhere near that 500 megahertz anymore. They could move out and accommodate new mobile services, and sell those rights. And the incumbent firms wanted to get a large share of the new benefits. They were willing to, of course, at a first step pay federal taxes on whatever the gains were and, at a second level, to make some accommodation in terms of splitting of those proceeds. But they requested permissions to hold a private auction. At the end of the day, that became very controversial as the windfall argument reared up; the fact that the satellite carriers have some foreign ownership became a populist rallying cry.  In the end, the FCC backed way off its liberalization program and basically appropriated the business model these carriers advanced.  In essence, the Commission said: “You know, that’s a great idea. Thanks for showing it to us. Now we’re going to hold this auction.”

Now, the FCC didn’t completely eliminate the incumbents’ proceeds, diverting some fraction of the bids to pay for the cooperation of the satellite carriers.  These parties are making important investments to free up spectrum, and will collect about $13 billion of the approximately $94 billion paid, in total, for the new spectrum access rights.  The end result, clearing the way for new bandwidth to supply 5G mobile services, is a huge plus for the US economy, for cellular customers, and everybody involved in the wireless ecosystem, but the split was nowhere near what the parties had been proposing initially. They feel, certainly, like they were appropriated. Intelsat, the leading carrier and pressure group, so to speak, for this policy, filed for bankruptcy protection before the auction could go through.  The problem is not that I feel sorry for Intelsat stockholders (I don’t know them well enough to have an opinion).  Instead, it’s the dynamic impact.  We want companies to discover and reveal productive opportunities from shifting underutilized spectrum to higher valued uses — getting much more for the American public. Unleash competition, unleash innovation, and improve wireless everywhere. The way the C-Band auction played out tends to undercut the momentum for further such improvements.

Scott Wallsten:

So, you’re saying the problem with the auction approach was certainly fast was by FCC standards, but it left one of the incumbents bankrupt and it’s a disincentive for incumbent users of other spectrum to cooperate with the FCC? Explain a little further what you mean.

Tom Hazlett:

Yeah. The argument was made by the so-called C-band Coalition that formed to push this, that the licensees had a whole scheme cooked up to economize on radio spectrum, and it was going to cost them billions in investments.   They came to the FCC saying, “This is what we want to do, but we have to get more flexible property rights, so that when we make these changes, we can use less spectrum, and then we can sell the rights to use the bandwidth we free up.” The FCC saw that as a very positive opportunity, which is to its credit.  Intelsat stock went from a market cap of something like $500 million to something like $4.5 billion when it looked like this proceeding was going to go forward in the Spring of 2018.  But then we ran into the political buzzsaw in 2019, where both Democrats and Trump Republicans said, “This is wrong that companies get this windfall. The government is there to take it.” 

Now, in a legal sense, it is correct that the satellite carriers did not own the flexible use property rights. They had to ask permission to do what they wanted to do. Their licenses gave them specific authority to deliver just satellite video services, and they wanted expanded, broader scope for what they could do more efficiently. The government has, in essence, ended up granting such rights, but it did not invest those in the carriers but sold them to other parties. 

There’s no question the FCC gets a lot of points for getting this stuff done quickly, seeing that this was an efficient, pro-consumer, pro-growth idea, that it would spur US 5G. We’re doing something that not every other country is doing. This is an innovation in the US, and it’s getting done in 2020, 2021. We haven’t quite finished with the assignment phase, but this should free a lot of great spectrum.  But we’ve also clung to the past in the sense sending the signal that that firms do come forward with these progressive kinds of ideas and find their interests are put at risk for political reasons.

Recall that the consumer gains inevitably outweigh, generally an order of magnitude or more, the gains that go to the companies that are providing these services. That is to say consumer surplus is the real important factor in the market, much larger than the producer surplus that’s being gained by trading around the license value. So as big as this $90 or $100 billion for license rights might be, we’re talking about a trilliob dollars of consumer value – or more — that’s being unleashed. In this case, the FCC may have a good argument that it operated pretty quickly, but government reallocations can delay benefits for years, even decades. It now the next opportunity may not be discovered because regulators rejected a private auction.

Scott Wallsten:

Let me press you a little bit more on that though. Well, like you said, from an economics perspective, the windfalls really don’t matter because that’s just a puny or transfer of money and it’s not probably by itself going to affect future investment or incentives or anything like that. But then by the same token, the amount of money that goes to the government, the FCC took it instead of the companies getting it, that also doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the real effects are how quickly and how much spectrum is made available. And it is [inaudible], we can use and the incentive effects going forward. And then you’re saying that this has shown that if companies come forward with their ideas about how to free up spectrum and it involves them profiting, then the FCC is not going to like it. So, therefore, the firms are less likely to come forward with new ideas. But I mean, it’s still true that the company has got a lot of money out of this, right? I mean, and so how do you, you know, what makes you so certain that companies still won’t come forward? If you’ve got a losing business model, you can come to the FCC and they might say, “All right, well, we’re going to auction it, just not let you do this,” but that’s still is as a win for the company. Right?

Tom Hazlett:

Yes, the incumbent carriers are being paid – tht’s a big advance over traditional spectrum allocation.  Of the monies bid, the satellite licensees stand to receive about 15% — that’s not nothing, and the incentive part of that is an important piece of what is occuring.  But the problem is the next reallocation. Where the money goes does impact incentives for firms to seek, and then reveal, new opportunities from reconfiguring existing spectrum use.  What we’ve seen in many episodes is that a ‘windfall’ argument has actually stopped spectrum from going to the marketplace. This happened in the early 2000s when we were trying to re-auction the other C-band, PCS C-band. A deal was made to get a very messy auction straightened out – in 2001 the FCC actually re-auctioned licenses the federal courts soon determined it did not own – and political screaming brought a settlement down that would have gotten needed bandwidth into the market for 3G, paid off the government, and paid off the original FCC auction winners that had then declared bankruptcy.  This latter was seen as a unfair windfall profit and the bargain fell apart.  The FCC ended up getting less money in 2005 – and, more importantly the spectrum sat idle for another four years.  The argument was that the public was being protected but that was not true.  Consumers were being abused due to less competition in the market.

There was a company called Northpoint Technologies that, circa 1994, developed a new way to use the 12 gigahertz band.  The FCC thanked them pointing this out and then helping to adjust the rules, spending years (and millions of dollars) to work with FCC lawyers and engineers to craft a new policy. The Commission then refused to award Northpoint licenses but instead auctioned them off in 2005.   These were licenses to use spectrum innovation advanced by Northpoint; the company refused to bid.   They thought that they should be first in line for that. 

So, you say that the transfers don’t count.  In the very short run, once the spectrum allocation innovations are done, they don’t. But in a dynamic game, where we want the FCC to be informed about how it might do better (and then pushed to do so), the distribution of rents makes a big difference.

Dr. Sarah Oh:

Are there examples of private overlay auctions that have happened outside of the FCC? I think part of the argument is, “Oh, we don’t know what’s going to happen. The satellite companies might collude or, you know, it’s not transparent. We need the FCC to be a neutral auctioneer.” Are there good examples of what would have happened if they held an auction privately?

Tom Hazlett:

Of course, there’s activity all the time. Take the so-called incentive auction where we had the reverse and the forward auction bundled to reallocate broadcast television spectrum in 2016, 2017.  The FCC process peeled off 70 megahertz allotted to new mobile licenses, a bit less than one-quarter of the 294 megahertz previously reserved for broadcast television. 

When those licenses went out, there was a several-year adjustment plan that finished in July of 2020, when 133 TV stations would be required to go off the air and several hundred more to switch over broadcast frequencies.  Yet it happened much faster. Because as soon as the new mobile spectrum rights were established, they effectively became overlay rights.  Companies that wanted early band access — in particular, T-Mobile — immediately started paying TV stations to go dark in their areas. That’s how an overlay works, improving on top-down allocations even when the regulators are doing their best to effect change. The FCC argues that it categorically economizes on transactions and, therefore, transactions costs, but often the transactional efficiencies are the other way around. . 

Overlays beat top-down allocations in the 1995 assignment of personal communications services (PCS, or “2G”) licenses; with UHF TV licenses sold (with liberal spectrum rights) in the early 2000s to Qualcomm, which paid TV stations so it could use Channel 55 to introduce a new service, MediaFlo; in the 2006 distribution of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) licenses; and the FCC is explicitly using them in upcoming 2.5 GHz license auctions because the irregular distribution of spectrum rights is too patchwork – too complex – for the FCC to define.  

Incidentally, that MediaFlo was a flop demonstrates the importance of liberal spectrum rights, and overlays, even more.  Qualcomm developed the technology for video distribution on cellphones when handsets were incapable of the streaming that they routinely do today.  The company invented this new mousetrap but did not have to ask for the government’s permission to deploy.  Qualcomm simply spent about one billion dollars, which includes its spectrum buy.  When MediaFlo was not so well received by customers, Qualcomm cut its losses and had a big economic success – by selling its Channel 55 bandwdith rights to another firm, turning about a $1 billion profit in the process. I believe it sold the licenses to AT&T. 

Scott Wallsten:

Yeah, I think that was AT&T. 

Tom Hazlett:

AT&T.  So, you can see in success and failure, separated by the judgment of a market open for innovation.  The private market was able to clear nationwide spectrum in deals with scores of TV stations, roll-out a brand new product, and then fold up the rights that bolstered emerging 4G networks – where, it turns out, customers were far more willing to pay for video over their mobile phones.

Scott Wallsten:

Let’s talk a little more about the dynamic effects which, as you said, are what really matter.  So in the C-band, there’s still 220 megahertz left that are still being used for its original purpose.  With the new information that’s been revealed we know how valuable this bandwidth is. So the question is: what would you like to see happen now with that remaining 220 megahertz? And what do you think will happen given all of the factors you write about?

Tom Hazlett:

Do I want to make a prediction and be proven wrong, or be vague and be able to have plausible deniability? I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but you’ve got this problem. You’ve got it also in the TV-band — let me start there because I have thought about that.  We went forward with the “incentive auction” on the idea that there are too many transaction costs for the market to reallocate the TV-band when it had 49 channels. We’ve peeled off some of it — 70 out of 294 megahertz went into the 600 megahertz auction in 2017.  That increment is being fruitfully utilized now, and advertised as providing 5G nationwide.  But we’ve still got 35 channels left — channels that were set aside to distribute I love Lucy

Today nobody says that’s efficient.  The content is all going through cable, satellite, and over the top broadband.  When you ask a young person, “did you watch television this week?” They’ll say, “Of course,” and start listing out all the Netflix shows they got on their smartphone. So, we are keeping spectrum out of television now by keeping it locked up in those 35 “broadcast TV” channels.  To help make the “incentive auction” work, by the way, the FCC and the Congress (in its 2012 authorization) explicitly said that there would be no second round.  The idea was that the broadcasters were an endemic holdup and they had to be threatened:  “Sell now or forever be condemned to be a broadcast television station. So, you better make us a good offer now.” 

I think it was a bad policy to do it one time and leave all that spectrum there. Well, what do you do now?  Once again, an overlay approach is quite attractive.   We respect all current licensee rights, grandfathering incumbents, and then sell secondary rights to all 210 megahertz (35 TV channels) — perhaps three 70 megahertz licenses in every market, or nationwide, or whatever you want to do. You can have more or fewer licenses, divvying up the bandwidth, and sell those rights at auction.  The winners can then make deals with the incumbents – in fact, the winners might well be partnerships that include the incumbents – and use that spectrum for whatever they want. I don’t much care about the prices and neither do you. We care about the growth of the economy and increases in consumer welfare because spectrum gets used for something more valuable than over the air broadcast television, done as it was in 1952. 

And the same with your question on C-band, and the remaining 220 megahertz there. The bandwidth continues to transport video the old fashioned way  — when it can be done through fiber optics and through more efficient use of satellites, as we’ve already seen. Why not issue overlay rights on the next round, and allow addtional entrepreneurial opportunities?  We’re always amazed by the deals that emerge and how technologies and business models can adjust to pack more into the radio space – when it’s legal to do so.

Scott Wallsten:

So the way you say that, you say it almost as if it’s a rhetorical question. You know, how could we not do this? But other people might hear it as a rhetorical question with the other answer. And so, you know, in your book, it’s all about the political and economic forces that keep that kind of solution from happening. So when you say it, it makes complete sense and it’s so much so, that you imply that, “How could anybody have a different answer?” And yet it doesn’t happen very often. So, you know, why?

Tom Hazlett:

Well, yeah. 

Scott Wallsten: 

Read your book, Tom!

Tom Hazlett:

Yeah, I read all of it, and there are many examples where it’s happened. By the way….

Scott Wallsten:

That’s true, that’s true.

Tom Hazlett:

Now, look at Auction 103 that sold rights to access millimeter-wave frequencies, but where there about 40% of the space (in terms of value) was already licensed.  The FCC effectively sold overlay rights, diverting “incentive payments” to the incumbents.  That approach, of course, has been used in the 2017 Broadcast TV auction and is being used now in the C-Band sale.  Nicely done – far more expeditiously and efficiently creating reallocations than the old system of relying completing on administrative diktat.  

We use overlays more than the FCC admits.  But government agencies are good at coming up with names and acronyms – although, the term “incentive auction” gets no better than a “C-.”  All auctions rely on bidder incentives; that’s really the whole point. But even when the Commission claimed to be rejecting overlays, in the 2016-17 “incentive auction,” it still had to use them by issuing rights with “impairments.” That’s another word for “vested rights, and impairments connote overlays. 

To the extent that there is pressure on the FCC to move spectrum out to the market, and not just hold administrative rule makings where is forced to use overlays because it’s so transationally easier to put competitive firms in a position to solve spectrum sharing problems that seem intractable to third parties (like the FCC).  It comes from the same basic reality that makes judges push litigants into “settlement conferences,” and why courts try to give incentives for the parties to negotiate settlements.  The judge has much less information about where the positive-sum deals are – just like the FCC.  It’s a matter of giving those warring factions that opportunity to forge the bargains.  When the FCC sees that disputes are settled, and a petition then submitted for regulatory approval, the language gets downright flowery.  I exaggerate only a little in recalling some petition waivers that are rubber stamped with an explanation that says, roughly: “You guys are geniuses. That’s exactly the way we would have done it if we had imposed our will.” The FCC often loves it when interference remedies in spectrum are worked out. So, there’s a lot of positive momentum there that the FCC has grasped. I certainly think there is much more that can be done. 

Scott Wallsten:

So, we’re running out of time, but before we finish this past week, we lost a couple of friends and colleagues, Peter Huber and Jerry Ellig, and Tom, I know you knew both of them. What are your thoughts on the passing of these men.

Tom Hazlett:

It’s terrible.  Yesterday I just heard about Jerry Ellig, who died suddenly. He was, of course, a very good economist, and he served as Chief Economist, just recently, at the FCC. He really focused in a very analytical way, over many years, in supplying state-of-the art cost-benefit analysis of regulatory effectiveness. When he left the FCC, he went over to work with Susan Dudley at George Washington University and was continuing to advance analytical methods for comparing the impacts of different regulatory approaches.  Jerry had a big part in enacting something that I’ve long advocated, which is a Bureau of Economics at the FCC.  It actually got done in 2018, with what is now called the Office of Economics and Analytics.  The Commission could not have had a better Chief Economist there to get that done.  Jerry will be greatly missed on the analytical front.  But, for those of who were fortunate to know him, the much greater loss is human.  Jerry has a delightful family, and he was just an upbeat, engaging, positive personality.  It is impossible for me to imagine him not here.

Scott Wallsten:

A couple of years ago, he actually came out to our Aspen conference to talk about the OEA. Well, they were still putting it together, and that was an interesting talk, but it was also fun having him around. He participated in all the sessions asking lots of questions and just generally being a fun person to have at the conference and added a lot. 

Tom Hazlett:

Absolutely.  Jerry was an excellent question asker.  And on important topics he had an innocent, almost cherubic attitude, that let you get down to essentials very quickly.  You could have great discussions with him.  He wrote sophisticated papers on important topics, but he did not have an ounce of ego; his genuinely friendly spirit stood out. You don’t see that raw enthusiasm often enough. 

You wanted to ask about Peter Huber?

Scott Wallsten:

Yeah. You just wrote a really nice essay in memoriam of him in Reason.

Tom Hazlett:

Thank you. But, of course, it’s  a frightful assignment.  I did know Peter Huber for over 30 years. We thought he was a Vulcan. When introducing my wife to Peter years ago, I said, “You know, Peter might say something that sounds nuts. Don’t think he’s wrong. We’re going to have to figure it out later. I guarantee you he’ll be ahead of us.” He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. in Engineering at age 23; MIT made him a professor immediately, and granted him tenure in two years.  He then decided to study law, and was number one in his class at Harvard  Law when the graduated at age 30 (while teaching thermodynamics at MIT).   Then he quit academia — he didn’t want to be bogged down by all the standard academic silliness – and became a serial visionary.   

He went from topic to topic, writing the best book on disparate topics and changing the world. I crossed over with him in telecommunications, but he helped reform federal law by writing about “junk science,” a term he coined, and helped upgrade rules of evidence that excluded expert testimony that relied on ad hoc academic theories.   He wrote about energy and environmental policy, and wrote two treatises on telecommunications – the first for the U.S. Department of Justice in 1987, providing the government’s analysis as to how  markets were faring three years into the antitrust break-up of AT&T, and the second the first actual law school treatise on Federal Telecom Law, in 1995, with Mike Kellogg and John Thorne.  Finally, in 2013, he wrote a wonderful book called The Cure in the Code. It is brilliant,  hopeful, wonderful tome detailing how advances in molecular biology are allowing medical science to rewrite our genetic software and cure cancer, along with 

Tom Hazlett:

Huber brought physics and poetry to policy. He pointed out that our whole medical system from the insurance industry  to the regulatory system at the Federal Food and Drug Administration is geared to serving a world where we didn’t have these customized tailored solutions.  He calls “socialized medicine” the kind of service Walmart delivers – broad, cheap, drugs that have done great work to improve heath, because they are standardized and produced at mass scale.  But the breakthroughs that we confront today boast a different economics with highly personalized remedies.  And the old Gold Standard, double blind, massive trials are often far too slow, expensive, and bury the data we actually seek.  Huber shows what happened when we rushed to a cure, “lowering” FDA standards but raising life-saving therapies and complicated “cocktails” to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic. New regulatory flexiblity ended up saving thousands, even millions internationally.  We have those opportunities, facing new challenges today, and the more powerful genetic changing technologies at our fingertips make the barriers so much more crucial to overcome.   It’s a very hopeful book and it’s a wonderful book. Like all of Peter’s writings, you just don’t understand how somebody who can master the technical side of it could write with the beauty, passion and explanatory power, but his prose is incredible.  He’s left us something. 

Lou Gehrig was a great athlete who was stricken by this vile ALS that destroyed his muscles. Peter Huber was an incredible genius who got a disease called premature frontal dementia, and it attacked his brain. He spent the last four or five years declining, and the tragedy played out over time.  The whole world will feel the loss of Peter Huber, even if those who are yet to learn his name.  But I think I made a mistake. We who knew him were so dazzled by the brilliance. We reflected too little on the fact that he really was a remarkable human being. He had the wonderful grin and a quick laugh.  He did not engage in the pettiness of so much of everyday life, as he was always after bigger fish. Perhaps his most “political” act was that he prided himself on clerking, after he came out of Harvard Law, for Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the DC circuit, and then Sandra Day O’Connor, on the Supreme Court. He respected both jurists tremendously.  He jumped on the historical occasion he had witnessed by writing a book for girls about the life of Sandra Day O’Connor. In so many dimensions, Peter was a gift. 

Scott Wallsten:

Yeah. So, two people that will we’ll miss a lot. Thanks for those thoughts, Tom. So, we should probably wrap up now, sorry to end on a sad note, but we are grateful for your time and the fascinating discussion of spectrum to look forward to the next time, and we can see what’s developed since, and if we’re lucky, a whole lot will have.

Tom Hazlett:

Well, It’s an honor for me. I certainly am a fan of the Technology Policy Institute. And you’ve got Sarah here now. That’s a windfall for the Institute, as she’s doing great work.  TPI has got a lot of fans sprinkled around the world.  Please keep doing what you’re doing. Upwards and onwards!

Scott Wallsten:

Well, thanks, Tom. We’ll talk to you soon. 

Dr. Sarah Oh: 

Thanks, Tom. Come on again soon. 

Tom Hazlett:

Thank you.