WASHINGTON, September 17, 2021 – The TPRC Internet Communication, Information and Policy Research Conference is fast approaching and is expected to address some of the most pressing issues facing Big Tech, the telecommunications industry and the Internet. society in general. We cover some topics you can expect to see covered at the conference September 22-24.
If the recent election cycle and the Covid-19 pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that the threat of misinformation and disinformation poses a greater threat than most people might have imagined. Many social media platforms have attempted to provide their own unique content moderation solutions to combat such efforts, but so far none of these attempts have satisfied consumers or lawmakers.
While the left blames these companies for not going far enough to curb damaging rhetoric, the right argues the opposite: social media has gone too far and censored conservative voices.
All this dissent has made Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 – once a staple of the digital landscape – the focal point of Democrats and Republicans alike, as companies still struggle to find a compromise to appease them. two sides of the aisle.
Definition of broadband
Another topic that will also be discussed at the conference is the future of broadband classifications. This topic quickly became relevant at the onset of the pandemic, as people across the country began to attend school and work virtually.
It became immediately clear that for many Americans our infrastructure was simply insufficient to handle such stresses. Suddenly, lawmakers rushed to reclassify broadband. The efforts in Washington, backed primarily by Democrats, called for an increase in broadband standards.
The Federal Communications Commission’s permanent definition of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) upload and 3 Mbps upload became unpopular overnight, as calls for a symmetrical service, such as speeds of 100 x 100 Mbps, and even gigabit speeds have become part of the conversation.
Many experts were quick to strike back, especially those operating in the wireless community, arguing that the average consumer doesn’t need symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps, let alone a gigabit, and that these efforts were nothing but a campaign of fear that would undermine the deployment of broadband infrastructure to unserved communities.
These experts argue that changing the standards would reduce the usefulness and viability of any technology other than fiber, as well as delay when unserved communities (as currently defined) can expect to be served. . Wider topics regarding rural broadband and technological fairness will also be highlighted, answering many questions raised by Covid-19 over the past year and a half.
The future of spectrum
Finally, the quest for spectrum will be discussed during the conference.
As ubiquitous 5G technology continues to be promised by many companies in the near future, the hunt is on to secure more bandwidth to keep their devices and services running. Of course, spectrum is a finite resource, so finding space is not always easy.
Indeed, spectrum sharing efforts have been underway for years, where historical users are either enticed or forced to make room for other members of their group, just as we have seen the military in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service band, and more recently between the Department of Defense and Ligado in the L band.
Even though these efforts are ongoing, there is still disagreement within the community about the impact, if any, of spectrum sharing on band users. While some argue that spectrum can be shared with little or no interference to the services in place, others strongly reject this position, arguing that bandwidth sharing would be catastrophic for the services they provide.
China will also be an important topic of the conference. Due to the competitive nature of the U.S.-China relationship, many see the 5G race as a zero-sum game, in which China’s success is our failure.
In addition, security and competition concerns have led the US government to implement a nationwide “tear and replace” policy, whereby Chinese components, especially those from companies such as Huawei, are ripped off. to existing infrastructure and replaced by American components. or countries with which we have closer economic ties. The conference will feature several sessions dealing with these topics and more.
Register for TPRC 2021