The spread of the Internet and the mobile phone has gone faster and further than the development of any communications technology in history. The benefits of increased access at higher speeds are key drivers of global economic growth as well as of freedom and social progress. Advances in mobile and broadband access can create “virtuous cycles” of competition which excerpt market pressures towards greater access at greater speeds at lower prices, however, the roads to such virtuous cycles are fraught with challenges both at home and abroad. Competition overseas has bigger impact on US consumers then most realize. More competition and investment in foreign countries can enable a “global upgrade” to IPv6, DNSSEC, better authentication, strong encryption, and better security–which will result in less spam, less phishing, and few cyberattacks in the US and globally. Our panelists will examine how countries who encourage competition and innovation are reaping the rewards and describe lessons learned on how to achieve competition in other countries that have more protectionist policies. In addition, they will discuss specific policies that governments have adopted policies to encourage innovation and how mobile broadband can provide cheaper access to the Internet.
Fellow, Communications and Society Program, The Aspen Institute
Robert Pepper works with governments across the world helping them develop strategies and address areas such as ICT and development, broadband plans, IP enabled services, wireless and spectrum policy, the Internet of Things, security, privacy and Internet governance.
Before joining The Aspen institute, Pepper led Cisco’s Global Technology Policy team for more than a decade, including leading Cisco’s Internet Governance agenda in international fora such as at the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS +10 review, the global and regional Internet Governance Forums, the ITU and the UN Broadband Commission.
He joined Cisco in July 2005 from the FCC where he served as Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy and Chief of Policy Development beginning in 1989 where he led teams developing policies promoting the development of the Internet, implementing telecommunications legislation, planning for the transition to digital television, and designing and implementing the first U.S. spectrum auctions.
Before joining the FCC, he was Director of the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy. His government service also included Acting Associate Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and initiating a program on Computers, Communications and Information Policy at the National Science Foundation.
Pepper received his BA. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aspen’s Communications and Society Program focuses on the implications of communications and information technologies on society, the impact of new technologies on democratic and social institutions, and the development of new communications policy models and options.
Non-resident Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution
Blair Levin is a nonresident senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program. He serves as the executive director of Gig.U: The Next Generation Network Innovation Project, an initiative of three dozen leading research university communities seeking to support educational and economic development by accelerating the deployment of next generation networks. He also serves as an advisor to a variety of non-profits with a mission of deploying or using broadband technology to advance social progress, including Case Commons, Volo and the LEAD Commission. Levin also advises both privately held and public companies in the telecom and technology sectors.
Previously, he worked with the Communications & Society Program with the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, following his departure in 2010 from the Federal Communications Commission where he oversaw the development of a National Broadband Plan. Levin rejoined the Commission in 2009, after eight years as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. As Barron’s magazine noted, Levin “has always been on top of developing trends and policy shifts in media and telecommunications … and has proved visionary in getting out in front of many of today’s headline making events.”
Levin served as chief of staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt from December 1993 through October 1997. During that period he oversaw, among other matters, the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, the first spectrum auctions, the development of digital television standards and the commission’s Internet initiative.
Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information
Eli Noam is Professor of Economics and Finance at the Columbia Business School since 1976 and its Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility. Served for three years as a Commissioner for Public Services of New York State. Appointed by the White House to the President’s IT Advisory Committee. Director of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, a research center focusing on management and policy issues in communications, internet, and media. He has also taught at Columbia Law School, Princeton University’s Economics Department and Woodrow Wilson School, the University of St. Gallen, and the University of Fribourg. He is active in the development of electronic distance education. Noam has published 30 books and over 400 articles in economics journals, law reviews, and interdisciplinary journals, and is a regular columnist for the Financial Times online edition. His recent books and projects include: Who Own’s the World’s Media? (Oxford, forthcoming 2015), Media Ownership and Concentration in America (Oxford); Peer-to-Peer Video (Springer); Media Management (3-volumes, forthcoming); and the projects: A National Initiative for Next Generation Video; and Ultrabroadband.
President, Coalition for Local Internet Choice
Jim Baller is president of Baller Stokes & Lide, PC, a national law firm based in Washington, DC. The only law firm in the United States to be named to Broadband Community Magazine’s FTTH Top 100 for each of the last four years, Baller Stokes & Lide represents clients in a broad range of communications matters nationally and in more than 35 states, including telecommunications, cable television, high-capacity broadband communications, the Internet, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives, bankruptcy, privacy, and antitrust.
Senior Policy Advisor, International Science and Technology, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Kate Gage is the Advisor to the Executive Director in the U.S. Global Development Lab at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She leads much of the Agency’s engagement with the maker movement and access to early stage manufacturing tools in the developing world. Previously she led work on Open Data and the launch of many of USAID’s initiatives on Science, Technology, and Innovation. Before joining the Obama Administration, she worked on the 2008 Barack Obama Campaign and graduated from Dartmouth College. She is originally from Berkeley, California.
Nitin Rao leads the strategic infrastructure team at CloudFlare, one of the world’s largest networks that powers more than 10 trillion requests per month, which is nearly 10 percent of all Internet requests for more than 2.5 billion people worldwide. Nitin is a TED Fellow. He previously founded Sunglass, a cloud-based design technology company and received an MBA degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management.