IEP Director Prof. Thomas Hazlett recently sat on a panel sponsored by the Technology Policy Institute to discuss the future of FCC regulation. He and his co-panelist, Sharon Gillette of Microsoft, disagreed over the efficacy of the FCC’s E-rate program in wiring schools for broadband:
A former FCC bureau chief who now works for Microsoft Corp. today defended the E-rate program and the FCC’s role in overseeing the communications industry against views offered by two academics on a panel at a policy discussion hosted by the Technology Policy Institute.
Thomas Hazlett, professor of law and economics at George Mason University and a former FCC chief economist, said that “schools are not connected because of the E-rate. The schools were connected a long time ago, … and [yet] the money keeps flowing.”
Sharon Gillett, principal technology policy strategist for Microsoft Corp. and former FCC Wireline Bureau chief, responded that the E-rate doesn’t fund the purchase of connection facilities but rather “gave schools the money to rent a wire. … If we’re going to continue that way of doing things, then it [has to be] an ongoing subsidy.”
Other panelists included Prof. John Mayo of Georgetown, former FCC chairman Reed Hundt, and AT&T’s Jim Cicconi. The full article by Lynn Stanton is available in Telecommunications Reports.