Federal Communications Policy in 2017: New Players and New Directions


April 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST


Click here to view the archived webinar


Soon after there‘s a change in the political party of the White House resident there’s usually a switch in the identities and political party of those heading federal agencies – including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is in the process of putting his stamp on FCC policies, rules and initiatives.  How will he alter – or continue – the regulatory paths of his predecessor?  Will there be new winners and losers?  And, if so, who or what will they be?What’s the regulatory philosophy of the “new” FCC – now and as additional commissioners are nominated and confirmed to join the agency?   And how is this developing philosophy being applied to hot button issues such as “net neutrality,” digital privacy and the regulation and pricing of business broadband services?  In what fashion will Chairman Pai’s stated principles of regulatory transparency and fact-based analysis affect FCC decision making.   And what will be the details of the Pai FCC’s efforts to close the digital divide in urban and rural areas, to encourage technical innovation in over-the-air broadcasting and other communications services, to protect consumers and to enhance public safety?The Digital Policy Institute, on Wednesday, April 12th at 2:00 P.M. EDT, provided answers to these questions and more in a webinar discussion featuring a panel of esteemed legal, policy, and regulatory experts on the communications policy priorities at the Pai FCC, on Capitol Hill and in the Administration.


  • Steve Pociask, President and CEO, American Consumer Institute
  • Lawrence J. Spiwak, President, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies
  • Shane Tews, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
  • Moderator: Barry Umansky, Senior Research Fellow and Senior Policy Counsel at the Digital Policy Institute and Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State University


Stephen B. Pociask  |  President, American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research

With over thirty years of experience in economic, policy and consumer research, Steve Pociask is president of the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, an independent consumer-focused educational and research nonprofit (501c3) institute.  His research studies are filed at both federal and state regulatory commissions, and include such topics as energy, insurance, telecommunications, consumer protections and healthcare.  He has testified before numerous state and local legislators, as well as U.S. Congress on broadband policy.

He has written about regulation, industry cost, price structure, competition and mergers. He has completed two studies for the Office of Advocacy for the Small Business Administration on telecommunications and broadband, and has written three books for the Economic Policy Institute.  His book, “MCI WorldCom’s Sprint toward Monopoly: An Analysis of the Proposed Telecommunications Merger,” co-authored with Dr. Jack Rutner, accurately predicted the Department of Justice’s decision to block the merger.  He is currently a participant on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee, where he chairs the Technology Transitions Working Group.

He has appeared numerous times in the media, including Fox TV, Bloomberg News, CNBC, Congressional Quarterly, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and CNET Radio.  He is regular contributor for Forbes.

Mr. Pociask previously served as Chief Economist and Executive Vice President for the economic consulting firm Joel Popkin.  Before this assignment, he spent eighteen years working in the industry, including chief economist for the Bell Atlantic Corporation.  He has completed his Ph.D. coursework in economics and has an M.A. in economics from George Mason University.

Shane Tews  |  Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy

Shane Tews is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute managing the Global Internet Strategy program that focuses on cyber security and Internet governance as part of AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy.

Shane was formerly Vice President of Global Public Policy and Government Relations for Verisign, Inc. where she was responsible for the strategic planning and daily management of the Policy and Government Relations efforts for VeriSign globally.  Shane represented Verisign’s interest before United States and International government officials in the Information Communications and Technology Sector where she participated in the development of e-commerce policies with International governing bodies, National and State Legislators, International, National and Regional trade associations and Information Technology coalitions.

Shane is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Internet Education Foundation and Vice-Chair of the Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA). She is also currently a board member of TechFreedom and GlobalWIN. She formerly sat on several Information Technology Boards including the European American Business Council, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Information Technology Industry Foundation, and the United States Telecommunications Training Institute. She also chaired the Information Technology Information Council Federal Government Relations and sat as chairman of the TechNet Public Policy Committee.

Before joining VeriSign Shane was the Vice President for Government Relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) representing the major Distilled Spirits Company’s policy issues before Congress and the Administration.

Prior to DISCUS Shane was Director of Government Relations at Citizens for a Sound Economy, a free market think tank, working on market-based economic policies.

Shane worked on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director for Congressman Gary A. Franks (R-CT) and in the first Bush White House in the Office of Cabinet Affairs and at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Intergovernmental affairs and also directly for the Secretary of Transportation as a Special Assistant.

Lawrence J. Spiwak  |  President, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies

Lawrence J. Spiwak is President of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies (http://www.phoenix-center.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) research organization that studies broad public-policy issues related to governance, social and economic conditions, with a particular emphasis on the law and economics of the digital age.  Mr. Spiwak is a prolific scholar whose work is frequently cited by policymakers, major news media and academic journals around the world, and is in the top 1.3% of authors downloaded on the Social Science Research Network.

Mr. Spiwak currently serves as the co-chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association’s (FCBA) committee responsible for overseeing the Federal Communications Law Journal and is a member of the program committee of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (“TPRC”).  In 2012, Mr. Spiwak was awarded the FCBA’s Distinguished Service Award by his peers.  Prior to joining the Phoenix Center, Mr. Spiwak was a Senior Attorney with the Competition Division in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel from 1994-1998.  While in college, Mr. Spiwak was accepted into the Presidential Stay-In School program where he was responsible for delivering classified and confidential material among senior White House and Reagan Administration officials and received a full FBI security clearance.  Mr. Spiwak received his B.A. with Special Honors from the George Washington University and his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Mr. Spiwak is a member in good standing of the bars of New York, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.