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Event Description

This hearing was originally scheduled for January 16 but was rescheduled to March 20, 2019 due to the government shutdown. 

The Federal Trade Commission held the tenth session of its Hearings Initiative, focused on competition and consumer protection issues in broadband markets, on March 20, 2019.

The hearing examined developments in U.S. broadband markets, technology, and law since the FTC staff’s 2007 Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy report and the FTC staff’s 1996 Competition Policy in the New High-Tech, Global Marketplace report. Participants in the hearing discussed: (i) the evolution of broadband networking and broadband markets since the 2007 Broadband Report; (ii) the identification and evaluation of advertising claims by internet service providers with respect to the delivery speed of content; and (iii) the identification and evaluation of conduct by broadband market participants that may be exclusionary or anticompetitive.

The Commission invites public comment on these issues, including the questions listed below. Comments can be submitted online no later than 11:59 pm EDT, May 31, 2019.

  1. The FTC’s 2007 Broadband Report provided a technical background of broadband market issues relevant at that time. How should the Commission evaluate broadband technology issues now? Which technological developments are important for understanding the competitiveness of the industry? How would future technological developments likely to occur in the near future impact the competitiveness of broadband markets, or otherwise affect consumer interests?
  2. How should the Commission define relevant markets in this industry? How should the Commission identify and measure market power of content providers, content delivery networks, internet transit providers, internet service providers, and other relevant market actors?
  3. How should the Commission identify and evaluate conduct in this industry that may be exclusionary or anticompetitive, including but not limited to discounting and preferential pricing, contracts and agreements between firms in vertical relationships, and conduct that may undermine or discriminate against rivals? Under what conditions does such conduct harm consumers? Under what conditions is conduct that may exclude or discriminate against rivals also associated with short-run or long-run efficiencies or consumer benefits?
  4. Do existing local, state or federal regulations affect different market participants in ways that limit competition and innovation?
  5. What are the existing standards, if any, regarding how actual internet speeds correspond to advertised internet speeds? Are such standards relevant to an FTC analysis under Section 5?
  6. What tools, platforms, and research are used to measure the speed of broadband and related services? Are they adequate for the FTC’s analysis of speed claims? If not, what additional resources are needed? Do competitors rely on data from these sources in challenging each other’s speed claims?
  7. How can consumers or other stakeholders determine whether actual internet speeds match advertised speeds?
  8. Do existing methods of advertising internet speed adequately inform consumers about their choices for broadband and telecommunications services?

Disability Accommodation

The FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Request for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

  • 9:00-9:15 am

    Welcome and Introductory Remarks

    Alden Abbott, General Counsel
    Federal Trade Commission

    9:15-9:45 am

    Technological Developments in Broadband Networking

    kc claffy
    University of California, San Diego
    Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis

    9:45-10:15 am

    Technological Developments in Broadband Markets

    Nick Feamster
    Princeton University
    Department of Computer Science

    10:15-10:30 am


    10:30-12:00 pm

    Speed Advertising Claims, Substantiation, and Section 5


    Laura Brett
    National Advertising Division, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council

    David Clark
    MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

    Nick Feamster
    Princeton University
    Department of Computer Science

    Debra J. Ringold
    Willamette University
    Atkinson Graduate School of Management

    Joshua Stager
    Open Technology Institute
    New America

    Moderator: Kristin Williams
    Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection

    12:00-1:00 pm

    Lunch Break

    1:00-2:15 pm



    Evolving Markets and Technological Developments: Market Structure


    John Bergmayer
    Public Knowledge

    Matthew A. Brill
    Latham & Watkins LLP

    Tithi Chattopadhyay
    Princeton University
    Center for Information Technology Policy

    kc claffy
    University of California, San Diego
    Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis

    Thomas A. Whitaker


    Moderator: Ruth Yodaiken
    Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    2:15-2:30 pm


    2:30-4:00 pm



    Evolving Markets and Technological Developments: Policy Applications


    Tejas N. Narechania
    University of California, Berkeley
    School of Law

    Gigi Sohn
    Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy

    Mitch Stoltz
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Tom Struble
    R Street Institute

    Berin Szoka

    Christopher S. Yoo
    University of Pennsylvania

    Moderator: Suzanne Munck
    Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    4:00-4:15 pm


    4:15-5:45 pm

    Identifying Efficiencies and Remedying Competitive Harms in Broadband Markets


    William Blumenthal
    Sidley Austin LLP

    Michelle P. Connolly
    Duke University
    Department of Economics

    Michael L. Katz
    University of California, Berkeley
    Haas School of Business

    Jonathan B. Sallet
    Benton Foundation

    Howard Shelanski
    Georgetown University Law Center
    Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP


    Moderators: Suzanne Munck & Katherine Ambrogi
    Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register for events that require registration. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s Privacy Act system for public records and comprehensive privacy policy.

This event will be open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded.  By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.