Reverse auctions can be an effective tool for reducing universal service subsidies and distributing them more efficiently, according to a new paper released by Technology Policy Institute vice president for research and senior fellow Scott Wallsten. The FCC’s action last Thursday capping the USF increases the pressure to find ways to do more with the available universal service funds. Reverse auctions are at the top of the list of available policy measures.
The United States now spends around $7 billion on universal service programs?subsidies intended to ensure that the entire country has access to telecommunications services. Most of this money supports telecommunications service in ?high cost? (primarily rural) areas, and the High Cost fund is growing quickly. In response to this growth, policymakers are considering using reverse auctions, or bids for the minimum subsidy, as a way to reduce expenditures. While the U.S. has not yet distributed funds for universal service programs using reverse auctions, the method has been used widely.
The Technology Policy Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul H. Rubin as senior fellow. “Paul Rubin is one of the country’s most talented law and economics scholars,” said TPI president Tom Lenard. “His expertise in the economics of advertising, consumer protection, and competition will be invaluable to TPI. He has been at the forefront in studying information and privacy issues in both the offline and online worlds. I am thrilled he will be working with us.”
Washington, DC – TPI is a think tank that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. Its mission is to advance knowledge and inform policymakers by producing independent, rigorous research and by sponsoring educational programs and conferences on major issues affecting information technology, communications, and energy policy. TPI was founded in 2007.
TESTIMONY OF SCOTT WALLSTEN, PH.D. VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH AND SENIOR FELLOW, TECHNOLOGY POLICY INSTITUTE, BEFORE THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE, FEBRUARY 28, 2008
Washington, DC – iGrowthGlobal president Thomas Lenard today filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) on the Midterm Review of the 2006 Joint Project Agreement (JPA) that NTIA has with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). NTIA is requesting comments on whether ICANN is making progress toward fulfilling its responsibilities under the JPA, and on the continued transition to the private sector of the technical coordination and management of the Internet’s domain name and addressing system.
Lenard, Thomas. Comments with NTIA on ICANN Tie with Department of Commerce Should Not Be Terminated., February 5, 2008.
Unbundling Regulations do Not Necessarily Promote Broadband Investment according to Wallsten analysis
Washington, DC – While the United States has moved away from unbundling regulations in recent years, the European Union has increasingly adopted them in order to stimulate broadband investment. A new paper by Scott Wallsten assembles a unique panel dataset to test the effects of different types of unbundling regulations on broadband penetration and speeds across OECD countries. Wallsten finds that unbundling regulations do not promote broadband investment and may even reduce it. He also finds, however, that rules that make it easier for an entrant to interconnect are positively correlated with broadband penetration and speed.
Washington, DC – Economist Scott Wallsten will join iGrowthGlobal ( www.igrowthglobal.org) January 14th as Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow. In this capacity, he will help coordinate and supervise iGG’s research program and also conduct his own research.
Wallsten, Scott. “Whence Competition in Network Industries? Broadband and Unbundling Regulations in OECD Countries” December 2007