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PPI Releases New Report on Broadband Policy

By / 7.18.2013

New PPI Report by Ev Ehrlich Outlines Progressive Agenda for Broadband Policy

Economic and Consumer –focused Objectives Key to Progressive Broadband Agenda

WASHINGTON – The administration and Congress need to adopt a progressive broadband policy agenda that balances respect for the private investment that has built the nation’s broadband infrastructure with the need to realize the Internet’s full promise as a form of social infrastructure, says a new report released today by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI).

The report, Shaping the Digital Age: A Progressive Broadband Agenda, is authored by Ev Ehrlich, president of ESC Company and former Undersecretary of Commerce for economic affairs in the Clinton Administration and current PPI fellow.

According to Ehrlich, for many progressives, “getting the Internet right” means addressing what they see as undue market power in the provision of broadband and the potential for the abuse of that market power, as the Internet is seen as a landmark tool for social and political empowerment.

Ehrlich’s progressive broadband policy agenda consists of five key objectives:

  • Extending the combined wired/ wireline broadband network to all Americans;
  • Creating an active market for spectrum;
  • Using broadband to advance if not revolutionize key non-market sectors of the economy, particularly education, health care, environmental protection and government;
  • Protecting personal privacy in broadband-based interactions;
  • Defining the role of the FCC as a catalyst, honest broker and market enabler rather than a regulatory implementer

“The fact that the Internet has become a driving force in shaping daily life doesn’t mean that it can’t be governed primarily by market forces. In fact, those forces have already delivered a competitive, innovative, and rapidly disseminating broadband network,” said Ehrlich. “There is a more appropriate policy agenda for progressives that would achieve important progressive goals in a way that “neutrality” and other regulatory forays cannot and will not.”

“Ev Ehrlich is a leading progressive economist and a key architect of the policies that nurtured the Internet’s early development,” said Will Marshall, president PPI. “In this trenchant new analysis, he urges progressives to stop fighting old regulatory battles, and instead champion a forward-looking agenda for ubiquitous, high-speed broadband as a tool for social empowerment as well as economic innovation and growth.”