‘What’s Hot’ List: 7/17/15

The ‘What’s Hot’ list for July 17, 2015.

In Regulation and Investment: A Note on Policy Evaluation under Uncertainty, With an Application to FCC Title II Regulation of the Internet (Georgetown, 07/2015) The impact of regulation on investments in fixed capital has been a central focus of economic inquiry for decades. As a general rule, economic theory can suggest either a positive or a negative role for regulation, depending on the circumstances. Recent years have seen a surge in empirical studies that seek to estimate the overall impact of regulation on investment and overall economic activity.

Here’s how data caps really affect your Internet use, according to data (The Washington Post’s The Switch Blog, 7/14/15) Most of us are acutely aware of how much mobile data we consume on our phones and tablets. That’s because Americans are largely bound to cellular plans that come with data caps — monthly limits on usage that apply steep overage fees or other penalties for going over. It turns out that data caps are incredibly effective at getting people to use less data, and not merely on cellphone plans. A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research takes actual, real-world data on data usage from a North American Internet provider and shows that even for people on fixed, wired home broadband, data caps have a dramatic effect on consumer behavior.

T-Mobile blasts Verizon, AT&T, Sprint with new multiline data buckets (RCR Wireless, 7/14/15) T-Mobile US announced a new family plan that continues to eschew shared data models adopted by rivals, and also signals the continuing marginalization of unlimited data plans.

Populists Want FCC to Probe Broadband Prices (High Tech Forum, 7/14/15) The populist wing of the Democratic Party is making trouble for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler by asking for a survey of broadband prices across the US. Wheeler promised not to regulate broadband prices, but what’s the point of bemoaning limited competition and high prices unless there’s legislation afoot to solve the problem?

Economists Say Title II Will ‘Have Significant Adverse Effects’ on Broadband Investment (Inside Sources, 7/14/15) The Federal Communications Commission’s recently-implemented Open Internet Order regulating Internet service providers as public utilities may have a greater effect on broadband investment than the agency realizes, according to a study out Tuesday by two economists with experience in three presidential administrations.

‘Competify’ Campaign Seeks FCC Action on Broadband (Multichannel, 7/13/15) “Competify,” a campaign by a coalition of competitive telecommunications, information processing and public advocacy groups and companies seeking to sway the FCC and other policy makers on key broadband issues, debuted today.  The initial group includes the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee, Broadband Coalition, BT (the company formerly known as British Telecom), Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), COMPTEL, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Engine, Level 3, Public Knowledge, Sprint and XO.

Comcast’s ‘Stream’ Won’t Be OTT (Multichannel, 7/13/15) Stream, Comcast’s coming $15 per month streaming TV service that will launch first in Boston, shares some similarities with the service that was created by the now-defunct Aereo – it’ll provide  access (in the home, anyway) to major broadcast TV channels and a cloud DVR. On top of that, Stream subs will also get HBO, authenticated TV Everywhere access to some networks, and Streampix, the MSO’s Netflix-like premium multiscreen VOD service.