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What is the Conference on Communications Policy?

The Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy is an annual private conference of key decision makers from the telecommunications and information industries, user and consumer groups, academics, non-profit leaders, and representatives from federal, state, and local government. Expert participants from diverse disciplines and viewpoints exchange valuable insights, and develop innovative recommendations to address the technological, competitive, and social issues that are transforming the rapidly changing communications marketplace.  Previous Communications Policy topics include: “Setting the Communications Policy Agenda for the Next Administration,”Skirting Bottlenecks: Policies to Support Network Evolution, Digital Inclusion and Data Security,” “The Atomic Age of Data: Policies for the Internet of Things,” “Video Veritas: Building a 21st Century Video Platform for a High Performance Society,” “Rethinking Communications Regulation,” “Updating the Rules of the Digital Road,” and “Rewriting Broadband Regulation.” Over the years many notable participants, including Julie Brill, Mignon Clyburn, Stephen Conroy, Julius Genachowski, Dick Green, Reed Hundt, Cam Kerry, Karen Kornbluh, Jon Leibowitz, Michael O’Rielly, Ajit Pai, Graham Richard, Larry Strickling, Tom Wheeler, and Tim Wu have attended the Conference on Communications Policy.

The current Comm Policy theme is on developing policies for the new media landscape.  The Conference is generously supported by the attending sponsors of the 2017 Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program: Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Verizon, Walt Disney Company, Charter, Dodge and Cox, Intel, National Association of Broadcasters, Netflix, New Street Research, T-Mobile, Ligado and Emmis.

This site displays the report that resulted from the 2017 Conference on Communications Policy convening that took place in Aspen, Colorado, August 13-16.  The series of chapters, written by rapporteur John Horrigan, synthesize the ideas that emerged from participants during the three-day dialogue, exploring policies for the new media landscape.

About the Communications and Society Program

The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields.  We provide a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy.  The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society.

The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy.  Our activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.

Most conferences employ the signature Aspen Institute seminar format: approximately 25 leaders from diverse disciplines and perspectives engaged in roundtable dialogue, moderated with the goal of driving the agenda to specific conclusions and recommendations.  The program distributes our conference reports and other materials to key policymakers, opinion leaders and the public in the United States and around the world.  We also use the internet and social media to inform and ignite broader conversations that foster greater participation in the democratic process.

The Program’s Executive Director is Charles M. Firestone.  He has served in this capacity since 1989 and also as Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute.  Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was a communications attorney and law professor who has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court.  He is a former director of the UCLA Communications Law Program, first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, and an appellate attorney for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.