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Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy Launches Project to Explore 21st Century Tech and Communications Policy

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The Georgetown University Center for Business and Public Policy (CBPP) today announced the launch of a new project to explore the policy challenges and opportunities raised by the rapid pace of innovation in digital and communications technologies. The new Evolution of Regulation and Innovation Project will focus on the intersection of regulation and innovation with an eye toward identifying policy changes that may improve economic outcomes for consumers and the larger economy.

The Evolution of Regulation and Innovation Project will be headed by Project Director Larry Downes and CBPP Executive Director John Mayo out of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and will engage with leading scholars, policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and industry experts from across the ecosystem. As the accelerating pace of technological innovation increasingly collides with the more incremental pace of governments and regulators, the new initiative will generate specific proposals that can help policymakers reduce regulatory friction while protecting consumers and stimulating private investment.

“The last time we updated our communications laws, Internet access came from an AOL CD in your mailbox, Google didn’t exist, and Mark Zuckerberg was still in middle school,” Downes said. “The technology landscape that consumers, businesses, and policymakers face today is very different than the world we imagined when our regulatory framework was developed. There is an urgent need for specific, fact-based proposals that can help stakeholders navigate a new approach to regulation that is responsive to rapidly evolving markets while protecting consumers and enhancing economic growth.”

The project also will benefit from expertise and insight from its advisory board, which includes Cass Sunstein, former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; Carl Shapiro, former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and deputy assistant attorney general for economics at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; and Robert Cooter, a pioneer in the field of law and economics and professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

“The rapid pace of technological change in the communications and Internet sectors are increasingly provoking public policy challenges that will profoundly affect – for better or worse – the competitiveness of American businesses and the U.S. economy,” said Mayo, who also is a professor of economics, business, and public policy at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. “We are excited with the launch of this project to be in a position to provide fresh intellectual thinking on how the United States can shape its economic institutions to address these challenges in ways that promote innovation, advance economic welfare, and protect consumers.”

Through the project, scholars and experts will provide policymakers and stakeholders with a non-partisan, academic resource for information, analysis, and policy solutions. Specific areas of research will include the following.

Communications Regulation: Exploring how laws and regulations impacting the communications and technology industries can – and should – be updated to reflect the realities of the 21st century economy. The last major re-write of U.S. communication law was in 1996 – at the dawn of the commercial Internet and long before the convergence of voice, video, and data networks using dedicated technologies (broadcast, cable, wireless and wired, satellite) and proprietary protocols.

Digital Infrastructure: Charting the path to sustained deployment of high-speed digital infrastructure, including both wireless and wired networks. Just as the intercontinental rail powered the 19th-century economy and the highway system powered the late 20th-century economy, ubiquitous, high-speed broadband connectivity is the critical enabler of the 21st-century economy.

Emerging Industries: Exploring the size, impact, and challenges of new digital economies. The spread of smartphones and broadband technology have facilitated the rise of new sectors, including the “sharing economy,” the “Internet of Things,” “wearable” technologies, 3D printing, and unmanned (drone) aircraft. As new products and services achieve rapid consumer acceptance in these new sectors — such as Lyft, SideCar, Uber, Airbnb, MakerBot, and TaskRabbit — they immediately challenge long-standing regulatory assumptions baked into the business models of incumbents in industries as varied as hospitality, taxicabs, manufacturing, energy, aerospace, and health care.

About the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy is an academic, nonpartisan research center whose mission is to engage scholars, business people and policymakers in relevant inquiries and dialogue to impact key business, economic, and public policy issues confronting American and international businesses today. Housed at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the Georgetown Center was created in 2002 to encourage thoughtful discussion and to document and disseminate knowledge on a range of issues in the public interest. Learn more at http://cbpp.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business provides a transformational education through classroom and experiential learning, preparing students to graduate as principled leaders in service to business and society. Through numerous centers, initiatives, and partnerships, Georgetown McDonough seeks to create a meaningful impact on business practice through both research and teaching. All academic programs provide a global perspective, woven through the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a way that is unique to Washington, D.C. – the nexus of world business and policy – and to Georgetown University’s connections to global partner organizations and a world-wide alumni network. Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive degree and open enrollment programs. Learn more at http://msb.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @msbgu.