On Thursday, June 30, The American Consumer Institute held an event discussing “Competition in the Internet Ecosystem.”  ACI President Steve Pociask moderated a discussion of the evolving conception of modular competition in the Internet ecosystem’s broadband value circle.  Discussants included Everett Ehrlich (ESC Company & Former Undersecretary of Commerce for President Clinton), Nicol Turner-Lee (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies), Hance Haney (Discovery Institute), and Jeff Eisenach (Navigant Economics).

Competition in the Internet Ecosystem: Introduction

Competition in the Internet Ecosystem: Nicole Turner-Lee

Nicol Turner-Lee spoke on the need for mobility as the answer to reaching underserved communities.  She pointed out that rural communities stood to gain from the healthy competition in the wireless Internet ecosystem of today.  She also broached the concern over privacy for new or unfamiliar Internet users.

Competition in the Internet Ecosystem: Hance Haney

Hance Haney discussed how innovation served as a medium and stimulant for competition.  He also suggested that maybe there was a need for a Federal Broadband Commission to help facilitate 100% broadband adoption.  Haney closed by looking at the AT&T – T-Mobile merger, saying that the merger provided a platform for further regulation of the industry and could potentially merit dangerous regulations that would set backhaul prices low.

Competition in the Internet Ecosystem: Jeff Eisenach

Jeff Eisenach closed the panel by explaining the evolution of the Internet marketplace from a vertical competition model to a horizontal model and finally to a circular one centered on the consumer.  Eisenach explained that the Internet ecosystem is made of different parts (applications makers, devices makers, content providers, and service providers) that are perfect compliments to one another, meaning that they do not work without the other, pointing to Jonathan Sallet’s Broadband Value Circle white paper for evidence.  He said that the FCC incorrectly puts broadband service at the center of the ecosystem, when in actuality the platform and consumers are at the center with applications, service, devices and content coming together to create the Internet ecosystem.

Competition in the Internet Ecosystem: Question & Answer:

The presentations were followed by a question and answer session.  Questions focused on the ideology of the value circle, the need for reform in the system of taxation of digital goods, and the importance of adoption.