On December 6th, 2006, nearly 100 people from government, academia and industry joined the Phoenix Center for its Annual U.S. Telecoms Symposium in Washington, D.C. This year’s Conference Theme was “Beyond Rhetoric: The Broadband Policy Debate Comes of Age” and the discussions were both substantive and lively.
This year’s Symposium started with a brief introduction and summary of the Phoenix Center’s accomplishments in 2006 by Phoenix Center President Lawrence J. Spiwak, followed by a summary of the Phoenix Center’s recent research by our Chief Economist, Dr. George Ford.
The first panel of the Symposium kicked-off with the traditional “economists’ panel.” This year, the “economists’ panel” included Dr. Charles Goldfarb – Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Dr. Scott Wallsten – Progress and Freedom Foundation; Dr. John Mayo – Georgetown University; and Dr. George Ford, Chief Economist – The Phoenix Center.
As always, the panel was moderated by Honorary Phoenix Center Chief Economist Emeritus, and current FCC International Bureau Chief Economist, Jerry Duvall.
We were then extremely honored to have FCC Commissioner Debi Taylor Tate moderate the second panel of the day entitled “How Do We Fix the “Third Rail” of American Communications Policy?” which focused on the difficult issues of universal service and rural broadband deployment. Panelists included Daniel Sepulveda, Legislative Assistant – Senator Barack Obama; Dennis Weller, Chief Economist – Verizon; Kathleen O’Brien Ham, Managing Director, Federal Regulatory Affairs – T-Mobile; and Brian Adkins, Director, Federal Legislative Affairs – Embarq.
The last panel of the day, moderated by Phoenix Center Resident Scholar Thomas M. Koutsky focused on “The Emerging VoIP Regulatory Regime”. Panelists for this lively discussion included Earl Comstock, President and CEO – CompTel; Brad Ramsay, General Counsel – NARUC; Tom Navin, Chief – FCC Wireline Competition Bureau; and Robert Quinn, Senior Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs – AT&T.
Following the various panels, we were extremely privileged to welcome FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin as the keynote speaker of the Symposium. Chairman Martin used this opportunity to set forth his views on the local franchise debate, and cited to the Phoenix Center’s work extensively in his presentation.
The Symposium ended with the presentation of the Phoenix Center’s Annual Jerry B. Duvall Public Service Award to the Speaker of California State Assembly, the Hon. Fabian Núñez. Significantly, the Duvall Award does not seek to recognize the recipient’s personal politics; rather, the Duvall Award goes to the policymaker who most demonstrated the “political courage in, and contribution of analytical rigor to, the United States telecoms restructuring debate.” Significantly, this was the first time the Phoenix Center bestowed its Duvall Award on a state policymaker, but given Speaker Núñez’s leadership in passing legislation that will bring California’s consumers real choice for cable television and increased broadband deployment, we could think of no one who epitomized the Duvall Award’s criteria more in 2006.
Lawrence J. Spiwak – President, The Phoenix Center
• Welcome and Opening Remarks [ppt]
George Ford – Chief Economist, The Phoenix Center
• Summary of Phoenix Center Research 2006 [ppt]
Dr. Charles Goldfarb
• Congressional Research Service [ppt]
Dr. Scott Wallsten
• Progress and Freedom Foundation [ppt]
Dr. John Mayo
• Georgetown University [ppt]