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Economists stump for free-market telecom action

Tue, 12/04/2001 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Whether or not the U.S. House of Representatives votes on HR1542, The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 (Tauzin-Dingell bill) this month is up in the air, but a group of top economists are weighing in on its impact.

The group of free-market economists signed a letter to the Bush administration calling for it to "do everything possible to accelerate the process of deregulating the telecommunications business," the letter says.

The group favors telecom infrastructure upgrades as an investment to the IT industry, which it says contributed roughly 25 percent of the recent GDP growth. "Excessive and unwise telecommunications regulation" is contributing to the IT sector's decline, it says.

"We are really making two points," says Progress & Freedom Foundation President Jeff Eisenach, in a statement. "It's important for the economy as a whole to speed up broadband deployment by having a pro-market telecom policy and second, a pro-market telecom policy is about deregulation, not protecting competitors."

The letter was delivered to the White House, the Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce, PFF says. It was signed by such economists as Robert Crandall, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; George Gilder, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute; Thomas W. Hazlett, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; and William Niskanen and Alan Reynolds, chair and senior fellow respectively, at The Cato Institute.

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