Carterfone and Open Access in the Digital Era Symposium, October 17

By Eric Goldman

On October 17, we are having a neat event at Santa Clara University. A brief word about the genesis. I don’t normally travel in telecom circles but I went to a few events in the past year or so, and at these events the FCC’s 1968 Carterfone opinion and the “Carterfone principles” were heavily invoked. It was clear that Carterfone was an important opinion and of continuing relevance today, but I was having a problem–it wasn’t clear that the speakers were referring to Carterfone consistently. Instead, everyone seemed to have their own idiosyncratic interpretation of the case. So the idea was to get together a group of experts to see if we could try to work through the case’s meaning and implications. This also gives us a platform to talk about Net Neutrality, optimal regulatory structures for network design, open access principles and a whole bunch of other interesting academic issues.

We have a terrific and eclectic group of speakers, but I am especially excited that the opinion’s author, Nick Johnson, will be joining us for a keynote talk. It will be interesting to see how he and the group survey the opinion 40 years later. A brief marketing description is below the line. As usual, admission is free unless you want CLE (and even then, it’s free in some cases). Please feel free to spread the word, and I hope to see you there.


Carterfone and Open Access in the Digital Era

Santa Clara University School of Law

Sponsored by the High Tech Law Institute and the BroadBand Institute of California

October 17, 2008

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The FCC’s 1968 Carterfone decision—celebrating its 40th anniversary this year—is frequently cited in policy discussions about Net Neutrality and open access, but there is little consensus about how its provisions should apply to Internet access providers and emerging communications technologies. This Symposium will gather leading telecommunications policy experts to explore the opinion’s implications—past, present and future—on communications policy. Nick Johnson, the former FCC Commissioner who authored the opinion, will provide the keynote address.

Attendance is free and open to the public. Five plus hours of CLE are also available to attorneys at HTLI benefactor firms and in-house counsel for free, to Santa Clara Law alumni for $50, and to everyone else for $100. Santa Clara Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

For speaker information and to register online, visit