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Lenard Critiques Berkman Center Broadband Study

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Contact: Amy Smorodin
(202) 828-4405

November 9, 2009 – The broadband study prepared by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society to help the Federal Communications Commission develop a National Broadband Plan is “incomplete and not objective,” according to TPI President and Senior Fellow Thomas Lenard. Lenard said the study “did not accomplish its intended purpose,” in an analysis submitted in response to the Commission’s request for comments on the study.

The Berkman study’s principal conclusion is that the United States should adopt an open access policy in order to improve its broadband performance. However, “the study ignores important contributions to the literature by prominent telecommunications scholars that don’t support this conclusion,” according to Lenard. The Berkman study does not take into account any of the extensive literature that shows the U.S. experience with unbundling requirements under the 1996 Telecom Act was not successful. It also ignores econometric evidence that shows that mandatory unbundling adversely affects investment in next-generation networks.

Because of the study’s flaws, Lenard recommended that “The Commission should give little if any weight to this study as it develops its National Broadband Plan. Indeed, if the Commission acts on the study’s recommendations, it will adopt measures that are likely to inhibit broadband deployment.”

Lenard’s comments can be found here.

The Technology Policy Institute

The Technology Policy Institute is a research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at http://www.techpolicyinstitute.org/