Verizon

In 2007, then-Congressman Edward Markey couldn't make it to Bali, Indonesia to speak at a conference on climate change, so he created an avatar on Second Life to deliver his remarks instead. While he spoke into a microphone in Washington, D.C., his animated likeness orated from a computer screen at the Bali conference.

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Snoopy, Snoopier, Snoopiest

A tip sheet for the scandals

How should you feel about the latest invasions of privacy? We asked Jeffrey Rosen to give us a tip sheet for the scandals.

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Julius Genachowski: The Exit Interview

The outgoing FCC boss on net neutrality, political polarization, and free speech

In a lengthy conversation, the outgoing FCC boss sounds off on net neutrality, political polarization, and free speech 

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The Republican platform slams Obama for failing to get rural America online. But the GOP's preferred solution wouldn't do that either.

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A new policy announced by Verizon yesterday has the Internet in a frenzy. In an attempt to control costs incurred by customers making one-time payments over the Internet or by phone, the company is instituting a “convenience fee” of two dollars. Now, Verizon finds itself inundated with complaints on Twitter, online petitions, and bad publicity. Will this lead to a change in the policy? A 2006 paper suggests that all this pressure, if not tempered by careful managerial guidance, could have the opposite effect.

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Some commentators have attributed the FCC’s decision last week to block the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile to the spread of anti-corporate sentiment in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests. “Imagine if the government didn’t take sides” lamented the conservative blog Red State. “Because AT&T really is getting an unfair deal.

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[Guest post by Matt O'Brien] It is better than zero. That is about the best that can be said about the September jobs report, on the heels of last month's numbers that showed precisely zero jobs added in August.

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The Love of Monopoly

Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications By Richard R. John (Belknap Press, 520 pp., $39.95) Once upon a time, some thought it obvious that competition was a bad thing, particularly in communications. As Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, put it in 1913, “The public as a whole has never benefited” from competition. Monopoly, he said, was the better choice. The reason, he argued, is that “all costs of aggressive, uncontrolled competition are eventually borne, directly or indirectly, by the public.” Nowadays corporate executives carefully avoid expressing such sentiments.

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Last fall, I left my rather antiquated PDA behind and finally joined the ranks of iPhone users (thank you, Brookings). An iPhone 4, no less. A lot about it was better than I ever imagined. Text messages in alternating color bubbles? Take a video and upload it straight to YouTube?

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Executive Indecision

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett would like to make one thing exceedingly clear: The Obama administration is not bad for business. No way. No how. Not one little bit. “We are not anti-business,” the president’s chief liaison to the business community stresses to me over the phone one afternoon in late July, an edge of frustration ruffling her usually calm-as-cream voice.

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