Kevin Werbach


The rise of cloud computing, which involves remote network-based applications and storage, is shifting the balance in the data world from distributed edge systems to centralized networked platforms. This emerging paradigm bears a striking resemblance to the computer utility, a widespread vision among technologists in the 1960s. The way the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grappled with the convergence of computing and communications in that period shaped the trajectory of both industries. Technology and market structure have changed dramatically, but the basic regulatory issues remain: networked computers need access to communications utilities, and networked computing platforms can themselves function as public utilities. The FCC must return to and update its original convergence agenda. As the technical predictions of 1960s visionaries become real, the policy considerations they raised must also be taken seriously.

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