December, 2018

Economics at the FCC, 2017–2018

Internet Freedom, International Broadband Pricing Comparisons, and a New Office of Economics and Analytics
  • Jerry Ellig

    Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
  • Wayne Leighton

    Chief, Federal Communications Commission
  • Paul LaFontaine

  • Eric Ralph

  • Sean Sullivan

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) current strategic plan lists four priority goals: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation; protecting consumers and public safety; and reforming the FCC’s processes. Economists at the FCC contribute toward the realization of each of these goals, through analysis of the nature and significance of the underlying problems that regulations are intended to solve, as well as assessments of alternative solutions. Three major FCC initiatives demonstrate the role that economic analysis played in Commission decisions in 2017–2018: the Restoring Internet Freedom Order; the new hedonic pricing model that was used in the International Broadband Data Report; and the order that reorganized Commission economists into the Office of Economics and Analytics.