At an FCC broadband workshop entitled “International Lessons” held on August 18, Harvard Law School Professor and Faculty Co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society Yochai Benkler ’94 advised the FCC to look to other countries in formulating a national broadband strategy. (Watch a webcast of the workshop.)

“It’s simply silly to ignore the experience of other, broadly similar democratic societies with broadly similar market systems,” Benkler said in his presentation. “International rankings seem to have taken on the style of varsity sports. The argument is we need to catch up with this or we need to overtake that. And, I think that masks the actual value. The actual value is to give us an imperfect, but decent judgment that says if something is accepted by this cluster of countries, it’s at least not a bad idea.”

The goal of the workshop was to discuss the international experience with broadband and to highlight national broadband strategies that have been successful. Participants focused on regulatory and policy approaches; data on international broadband usage, adoption, competition, and pricing; and approaches to benchmarking such data.

Benkler and the Berkman Center have been asked by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski ’91 to conduct an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world. This project will help inform the FCC’s efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan. The FCC’s national rollout plan is due to be submitted to Congress in February.