1:15 PM13:15

Center for European Policy Studies

On June 29 in Brussels, Tom will deliver a presentation titled "The Political Spectrum: Battling for Control of Wireless Technology." For more information, or to register to attend, visit the CEPS website.

Spectrum long has been a key battleground for control, first of radio and today of our mobile phones. Former Federal Communications Commission chief economist Thomas Hazlett has just published a remarkable history of the U.S. government’s regulation of the airwaves: “The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone.”

Popular legend has it that before the Federal Radio Commission was established in 1927, the radio spectrum was in chaos, with broadcasting stations blasting powerful signals to drown out rivals. Hazlett debunks the idea that the U.S. government stepped in to impose necessary order. Instead, regulators blocked competition at the behest of incumbent interests and, for nearly a century, have suppressed innovation while quashing out-of-the-mainstream viewpoints. Over decades, reforms to liberate the radio spectrum have generated explosive progress, ushering in the “smartphone revolution,” ubiquitous social media, and the amazing wireless world now emerging. Still, the author argues, the battle is not even half won.

Professor Hazlett will expand on this thesis during a special book presentation. He will also address the present debate in the U.S. over net neutrality and how the history of the battle for U.S. spectrum influenced European decisions.


Thomas W. Hazlett is the Hugh H. Macaulay Endowed Professor of Economics in the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University where he also directs the Information Economy Project. Hazlett’s essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and Time. He was a New Technology Policy Forum columnist for the Financial Times, 2002–2011. He is a founding partner of the consulting firm, Arlington Economics and serves as a Director of the Telecommunications Research Policy Conference. Born in Los Angeles, he graduated  from UCLA.

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6:00 PM18:00

The Adam Smith Institute

In London, on June 26, Tom will deliver a presentation titled "How deregulation gave us FM Radio, HBO and the iPhone."  Visit the Adam Smith Institute's website for more information on attending. 

Professor Thomas Winslow Hazlett is speaking at the ASI about his new book The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone

Professor Hazlett, former chief economist of the Federal Communications Commission, will run through the history of wireless technology, describing how special interests and short-sighted regulators frequently hamstrung innovations from FM radio to cable TV to cellphones. He'll describe how insights from economist Ronald Coase led to a deregulation revolution that brought us much of the technology and free expression we take for granted today, from smartphones to Game of Thrones.

Professor Thomas Winslow Hazlett hold the H. H. Macaulay Endowed Professorship in Economics at Clemson University, where he directs the Information Economy Project. He's also a frequent contributor to Reason magazine.

As usual, doors will open at 6pm with the talk itself starting at 6.30pm.

To RSVP please email events@adamsmith.org

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11:30 AM11:30

POLITICO: Spectrum, Innovation and Infrastructure in the Trump Era

Tom will be a featured speaker at this #POLITICOtech event (presented by Ligado Networks). For more information, or to register, visit POLITICO's events page

Event description: 

Join POLITICO for a timely lunch conversation that will chart the future of spectrum policy and its impact across the American economy.

Revolutionary changes in wireless technology - from autonomous vehicles to the Internet of Things - will remake our lives, transforming everything from transportation and infrastructure to national security, medicine and public safety. But this high tech future relies on a limited resource: airwaves.

The Federal Communications Commission will shape this revolution as it develops spectrum sharing and other policies that are key to innovation and the evolution of next-generation networks.

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