A Reply to Faulhaber, Singer, and Urschel’s Curious Tale of Economics and Common Carriage (Net Neutrality) at the FCC

Dwayne Winseck, Jefferson Douglas Pooley


This reply to "The Curious Absence of Economic Analysis at the Federal Communications Commission" (Faulhaber, Singer, & Urschel, 2017) makes three claims. First, we document the paper's undisclosed origins as a white paper commissioned by an advocacy group with deep ties to the telecommunications industry. Second, we describe two of the authors' active participation, on behalf of clients, in a range of contested issues before the FCC in recent years, none of which they disclose. Finally, our review of FCC workshops, roundtables, seminars, dockets and rulings—including during its landmark 2015 Open Internet Order and several blockbuster mergers and acquisitions—provides detailed evidence to refute the paper's core "curious absence" charge. The stakes could not be higher, we conclude, as the new FCC chair Ajit Pai has repeatedly referenced the paper to justify his rollback of FCC regulations—including, crucially, the common carriage/net neutrality rules so vigorously opposed by the paper's funders.


broadband internet access regulation; common carriage; net neutrality; economics; FCC; academic integrity; politics of knowledge;communication history

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