TPRC43 Panel Sessions

Friday, September 25, 2015
2:00 pm 

Domestic Content Policies in the Broadband Age

The rapid rise in audio-visual distribution platforms is challenging regulators’ abilities to fashion and maintain domestic content policies for television broadcasting.  Broadcasters in a number of nations and regions operate under content regulatory schemes designed to serve cultural and economic purposes, put into place during the age of terrestrial broadcasting when national policymakers were able to use licensing to tightly control the use of imported programming. 

The panelists are drawn from an international research team which undertook a collaborative study into the challenges that the digital age poses to traditional domestic content policies through an analysis of the rationales, policy approaches, operations, and effectiveness of domestic content policies in four countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, and South Korea.  Their findings were recently published as a report by the News and Media Research Centre of the University of Canberra, Australia.  The main goal of this panel is to gain an understanding of the individual cases and to compare responses to the new challenges each country faces in the digital era. 


Steve Wildman, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University


  • Charles H. Davis, RTA School of Media, Ryerson University, Toronto
  • Sora Park, News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra
  • Robert G. Picard, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford    


Localizing IP Interconnection: Experiences from Africa and Latin America

There is a growing literature suggesting that the presence of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) promotes investments, reduces transit costs and increases the quality of Internet access services in developing countries.  Other studies suggest that IXPs also promote local content hosting, as content producers and application developers seek to take advantage of reduced latency and shorter routes.  While the theoretical case is well established, empirical evidence about the technical performance of IXPs in such contexts and its impact on local access and hosting markets continues to be scarce.  There is also uncertainty about whether technical standards and measurement tools developed in high-connectivity countries are appropriate.  Further, these technical debates have been recently complicated by policy initiatives promoting mandatory data localization in several countries. 

This panel seeks to contribute to these debates by bringing together leading scholars whose work focus on IP interconnection and the performance of IXPs in Africa and Latin America.  The panel is based on case studies that offer a variety of different perspectives.  Some papers are more technically oriented, seeking to establish how IXPs are changing the topology of IP connectivity within countries and across regional links, and discussing alternative measurements for best capturing these changes.  These papers also address the question of how to develop appropriate technical standards that facilitate new IXP deployment in low-connectivity contexts.  Other papers are more policy oriented, addressing questions related to the impact of IXP initiatives on industry performance and the key factors that facilitate or hinder successful implementations. 


David Reed, University of Colorado at Boulder


  • Pierre Francois, IMDEA Networks Institute; Roderick Fanou, IMDEA Networks Institute
  • Hernan Galperin, University of Southern California
  • Ignacio Alvarez-Hamelin, Universidad de Buenos Aires/ITBA/CONICET
  • Jesse Sowell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Nishal Goburdhan, Packet Clearing House


Lessons from BTOP for Broadband Policy and Research

The panel brings together researchers, program administrators, and policymakers involved in promoting broadband to draw lessons learned from the BTOP program for future broadband policy, broadband policy evaluation, and broadband research in general.  Although the BTOP program was launched as part of a much larger stimulus effort, crafted on a very tight time schedule to address economic recovery needs in the midst of a major recession, it provides rich qualitative and quantitative data and lessons to inform future broadband policies. 

To initiate a broad discussion with the audience, the panelists will address the following issues: 1) The BTOP enabling legislation was specific in some places but broad and general in others.; 2) With about $2.9 billion committed, the largest allocation involved funding broadband networks across unserved and underserved areas; 3) One of the goals of BTOP and broadband policy in general is to harness the positive social and economic impacts of broadband investments; 4) The NTIA data is quite disparate in its format, including qualitative and quantitative data focused on the grantees activities and employment figures, complemented by information from the broadband mapping; 5) In extracting lessons from the BTOP program for the purposes of informing better broadband policies in the future, it is important to have a vision of the broadband future we expect and want to see to provide context.


Johannes M. Bauer, Department of Media and Information, Michigan State University


  • Aimee Meacham and Sandeep Taxali, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Stephen Rhody, ASR Analytics
  • Jon Gant, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • William Lehr, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Sunday, September 27, 2015
11:10 am

Industry as an Audience for Academic Policy Research 

Traditionally, the audience for research papers presented at TPRC is assumed to be government policy makers.  Survey responses from last year’s TPRC, however, indicate that industry and government representatives made up nearly equal shares of conference attendees.  Industry interest in the policy research presented at TPRC, and academic authors’ interest in effectively reaching industry audiences, both seem likely to continue, given external trends such as the increasing impact of public policies on the communications and information industries, and limited government funding opportunities for policy-relevant research.

This panel will feature a lively discussion among panelists with diverse perspectives on industry as an audience for academic research in the domains of communications, information and internet policy.  Questions for discussion will range from the philosophical to the practical.  For example, what types of value do industry participants and academics seek from each other?  What new or underrepresented research domains and questions are of particular interest to industry attendees?  How are policy findings and recommendations amplified or diminished by industry audiences?  What are effective mechanisms for academics to locate specific industry audiences interested in particular research topics?  What are best and worst practices for academic-industry engagement?

Sharon Gillett, Microsoft Corp.


  • Joe Waz, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Inc
  • Carolyn Nguyen, Microsoft Corp.
  • David D. Clark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab 
  • Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile USA
  • Richard Whitt, Google Inc.