Professor at the Wharton School and Organizer of the Supernova Conference
Joined on October 22, 2003
Total Post Views: 120,554
Werbach is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the Supernova Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm. He advises companies and writes about emerging trends in communications and information technology. He organizes Supernova, a leading executive technology conference.
Werbach is the former editor of Release 1.0, a renowned industry publication that provides leading-edge analysis of key technology trends for senior executives. Working with technology industry guru Esther Dyson, he also co-organized the annual PC Forum conference. Previously, he served as Counsel for New Technology Policy at the Federal Communications Commission. Called “one of the few policy wonks who really got it” by Wired, he helped develop the United States Government’s e-commerce policy, shaped the FCC's approach to Internet issues, and authored Digital Tornado, the first comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Internet on telecommunications.
A sought-after speaker and commentator, Werbach appears frequently in print and broadcast media including CNN, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Industry Standard, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harvard Law Review, Slate, and Business 2.0, among other publications. Werbach is a fellow of the Global Institute for Communications in Japan, and serves as an advisor to Nokia Innovent, Socialtext, Public Knowledge, and the Genesys Angelbridge Fund.
Werbach is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served as Publishing Editor of the law review, and a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his family.
Except where otherwise noted, all postings by Kevin Werbach on CircleID are licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Tom Wheeler, the new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, gave a speech today at Ohio State University. It was a good speech on his regulatory philosophy. But that's not so interesting. There's nothing out of the ordinary about a government official giving a speech. The unusual development was that the Chairman also released an ebook, called Net Effects. Even more unusual, it's not a bland ghostwritten policy whitepaper; it's a deeply researched work of history. more»
Today's official launch of Gig.U, a consortium of universities to facilitate next-generation community broadband opportunities, has tremendous potential. John Markoff has a story about the launch in today's New York Times. Here's why I'm hopeful for this project. more»
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The biggest threat to the Internet innovation ecosystem from network operators is not discrimination but terms of interconnection. Metered billing, bandwidth caps, and wholesale transit fees can all be implemented consistently with net neutrality rules. And in practice, net neutrality will be limited to "legal" content... more»
It has been a busy week in U.S. communications policy, with an FCC meeting adopting important spectrum policy reforms, an FCC complaint about Comcast's approval policies for cable modems, and a dispute between Comcast and Level 3 over fees for Internet backbone traffic. And late last night, it got even more interesting. more»
There's a scene in the Steven Soderbergh movie, Traffic, where the widow of a drug dealer brings a doll to the Columbian drug kingpin. "The doll is stuffed with cocaine. Big deal, we've been doing that for years," he says dismissively. "No," she answers, "the doll is cocaine." The whole toy is a heat-treated, compression-molded block of cocaine, undetectable to sniffing dogs. The drug lord becomes very interested. The Internet is like that doll... more»
I gave a talk yesterday at Northwestern called A DNS in the Air. My idea is that, in order to scale, the emerging wireless Internet needs something analogous to the domain name system (DNS) -- the infrastructure that allows you to reach sites across the Net. Billions of mobile phones, and even more billions of connected sensors and other wireless devices will completely overwhelm our current spectrum management regime. AT&T Wireless estimates we will need between 250 and 600 TIMES the current wireless capacity in 2018, less than a decade from now. more»
The McCain technology plan is finally out. As expected, it's light on what most of us understand as "technology policy." There are many platitudes about the glories of lower taxes and private investment, but little understanding of just how profoundly communications and information technologies are changing our world. The good news, I suppose, is that McCain is finally talking about technology issues which he resolutely ignored for most of the campaign, and which his advisors dismissed as not worthy of Presidential attention. more»
One would think that, in 2008, the significance of the Internet and information technology would be universally acknowledged. That makes the recent news from the Presidential campaign a bit shocking. After ignoring technology issues for the past year, John McCain is poised to announce his great insight: tech policy isn't worthy of attention from the President of the United States. This is what I draw from the announcement that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell is drafting a technology plan for McCain, to be released shortly... What concerns me most is what the McCain plan apparently leaves out... more»
When I first read this post about Predictable Network Solutions on the excellent Telco 2.0 blog, I thought it was an April Fool's Day hoax. Then I remembered that it's a UK site, and some Googling confirmed that it's a real company. So my question is, will this technology -- or something like it -- eventually make network neutrality a non-issue? Or will it be the means for network operators to implement the discrimination that everyone is worried about? more»
I've posted to SSRN my paper on why most telecom companies, even though they operate networks, don't appreciate the fundamental business dynamics of network structures. This will be a chapter in a book Wharton is publishing on network-based strategies and competencies. In the paper, I describe two views on telecom and Internet infrastructure... more»
Ahh, so the telecom incumbents have come up with a "new" idea for the Internet -- usage-based pricing. That's right, more usage (for things like VOIP and video especially) means more costs to operate the network, so users should pay by the bit, or some similar metric. It's all so logical! But wait a minute. I thought what sparked the consumer Internet revolution was the fact that ISPs didn't charge by the minute, but offered flat-rate monthly fees. And what catalyzed the boom in cellular usage here in the US was the shift from heavily usage-based pricing to the largely flat rates we see today... more»
Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more»
Stratton Sclavos of VeriSign distills the essence of the SiteFinder controversy in his CNet interview...There is a subtle but essential misunderstanding here. Innovation can and should happen in Internet infrastructure, but there are a handful of core elements that must remain open and radically simple if the Internet is to remain, well, the Internet. These include TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP, BIND, BGP, and the DNS (especially the .com registry). Any change in these protocols should be very carefully vetted through a consensus-based process. more»