Review of Industrial Organization (2006) 29:349–368 © Springer 2006
Economics at the Federal Communications
LESLIE M. MARX
Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Box 90120, Durham, NC 27708-0120.
Abstract. This article reviews several issues confronted by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) over the past year and discusses some of the economic analysis
employed by the FCC in examining these issues. The article also identiﬁes areas in which
future academic research would be valuable to the agency.
Key words: a la carte, multichannel video programming, net neutrality, spectrum auctions.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for ensuring
that U.S. telecommunications markets perform in a manner consistent with
various statutory objectives. These markets include radio; broadcast, satellite,
and cable television; and wireline and wireless (mobile) telephony. This article
discusses several important policy issues that FCC economists confronted over
the past year and describes some of the analysis used in examining those issues.
The article also identiﬁes areas of future academic research that have particular
relevance for the agency.
Section 2 discusses some auction design issues that have arisen during
the last year with respect to the FCC’s spectrum license auctions. Section 3
discusses issues in the cable television industry that have received attention
over the past year. Section 4 discusses the actively debated topic of net
neutrality. Section 5 contains brief conclusions.
Thanks are due to Heather Dixon, David Fiske, Evan Kwerel, Jonathan Levy, and
Larry White (the editor) for useful comments. The opinions expressed here are those of
the author and do not necessarily reﬂect those of the FCC, its staff, or commissioners.