Regulators need to broaden their horizons when evaluating competition in broadband markets, panelists said at a USTelecom Breakfast Briefing today featuring policy experts Jonathan Sallet and Jeffrey Eisenach. In a discussion moderated by Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Sallet and Eisenach called for new ways of thinking about competition among Internet-reliant companies that transitions away from the silos created in outdated telecom laws.
Sallet, a partner in O’Melveny’s Washington, D.C. office, described this dynamic in a presentation of his “Broadband Value Circle” theory, which looks at how companies compete with each other and sometimes with themselves on separate platforms. Today, multiple players from distinct “markets of origin” can approach the consumer directly, creating economic surplus to be divided with partners, Sallet said. Consumers benefit from this arrangement by having multiple choices.
Eisenach has a similar vision, which is based on his paper “Theories of Broadband Competition.” He sees competition occurring both vertically within platforms, and horizontally among groups of companies, in a market for broadband services that is intensely competitive. Eisenach, managing director and principal at Navigant Economics and an adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School, challenges the concept that broadband markets are at the core of the market and therefore justify differential policy treatment. In fact, regulations that advantage some competitors over others will inevitably reduce investment and slow innovation.
To view a webcast of the briefing, click here.