LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has hired Jason Furman, chief economist in former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, to chair a new panel that will steer its approach to digital technology, the UK government said on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Council of Economic Advisers Chair Jason Furman speaks at a Brookings Institution forum on “Achieving Strong Economic Growth” in Washington April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The panel will look at competition in the digital economy and how technological progress can be squared with the protection of privacy and society at large.
Furman served as chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers between 2013 and 2017 and is currently a professor of economic policy at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“His experience will be invaluable as we ensure that our market-regulating institutions are fit for purpose in the digital age,” British finance minister Philip Hammond said.
Britain wants to keep close ties with the European Union around digital regulation after Brexit, although it will not be a part of the bloc’s Digital Single Market – a plan to make online trade easier between EU countries.
Britain’s digital industry turned over about 116.5 billion pounds ($ 153 billion) in 2016, or around 7 percent of economic output.
“While digital markets have produced significant consumer benefits, including in the UK, we need to fully understand how competition policy needs to adapt going forward,” Furman said.
“Our focus needs to be on ensuring that consumers continue to benefit from these new technologies while maximizing the innovative potential from the economy.”
Furman’s panel will operate from September through to early 2019, when it is due to submit its findings to the government.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, declined on Friday to support the Obama administration’s firm backing of the need for four U.S. wireless carriers.
FILE PHOTO: A man uses a smartphone in New York City, in this picture taken November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Asked about T-Mobile’s plan to buy Sprint for $ 26 billion, Delrahim declined to reiterate the view of President Barack Obama’s enforcers, who had said that four wireless carriers were needed.
Instead, Delrahim told reporters, “I don’t think there’s any magical number that I’m smart enough to glean.”
He also said the department would look at the companies’ arguments that the proposed merger was needed for them to build the next generation of wireless, referred to as 5G, but that they had to prove their case.
Bill Baer, a former head of the antitrust division, had told the New York Times in 2014: “It’s going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to improve competition for the benefit of American consumers.”
North America has finally run out of new addresses based on IPv4, the numbering system that got the Internet where it is today but which is running out of space for the coming era of networking.
The American Registry for Internet Numbers, the nonprofit group that distributes Internet addresses for the region, said Thursday it has assigned the last addresses in its free pool. The announcement came after years of warnings from ARIN and others that IPv4 addresses were running out and that enterprises and carriers should adopt the next protocol, IPv6.
IPv4 dates back to 1981 and only has room for 4.3 billion unique addresses. IPv6, introduced in 1999, should have enough addresses to serve Internet users for generations, according to ARIN.