FCC Forum: Economists Debate Paid Priority

How many economists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None, the marketplace will take care of it. With that joke, plus an advisory that any emailed questions would be made part of the record, FCC chief economist Tim Brennan launched the FCC's net neutrality forum on the economics of broadband, to a roomful of economists as well as FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O'Rielly.

Brennan talked about not wanting a debate, and wanting more light than heat from his panelists, echoing Wheeler's preference for the forum, but he got a little of both, as the economists effectively divided along the lines of whether they thought priority was good or bad, a subject that dominated the discussion.

Weighing in against paid priority were Jonathan Baker, American University professor, and Nicholas Economides, professor of economics at New York University. Advocating for a more nuanced view of the economics of paid prioritization was Christiaan Hogendorn, associate economics professor at Wesleyan University.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.