TAP Reports from State of the Net

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on January 26, 2010


The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus’s “State of the Net” begins tomorrow, but the pre-game show started today at 2 PM EST in Washington, D.C. At the pre-conference meeting (which is still going on), Commissioner Michael Copps and Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, both of the FCC, provided the opening remarks.

“It is absolutely imperative that we maintain an open Internet,” said Copps, referring to debates on online regulation.

He called for civic engagement to “open the way for visionary public policy that the seriousness of the innovation compels.” That innovation is quite broad – well, broadband to be precise.

Baker noted that 90 percent of U.S. households already have access to the broadband infrastructure, a major success following government and industry calls for total broadband penetration throughout America, regardless of where users live (i.e., urban versus rural). Baker was firm, however, in her belief that regulation should be neither heavy-handed nor extensive.

Today, at 3:30 PM EST, TAP scholar Christopher Yoo from the University of Pennsylvania Law School will speak as part of a panel discussing Net Neutrality. This topic might also be called “the open Internet debate.”

At the heart of the debate is a need to provide online access for all Americans while at the same time also needing some regulation to keep the Internet working (such as restrictions on spam). But how much? And in what capacity?

Stay tuned to Techpolicy.com for updates on Yoo’s discussion. You can also follow us on Twitter (#TAPolicy) for real-time comments from the conference.