Rob Frieden
Pioneers Chair and Professor of Telecommunications and Law
Penn State University
102 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802
+1 814 863-7996; e-mail:

Rob Frieden holds the Pioneers Chair and serves as Professor of Telecommunications and Law at Penn State University.  He teaches courses in the law, regulation, management and technology of telecommunications and the Internet.  He also provides consultancy services in a variety of areas including business development, forecasting, next generation networks, Internet commerce, cybersecurity, privacy, the Internet of Things and regulatory reform.  Professor Frieden has written four books, published over one hundred articles in academic journals and regularly handles queries from journalists. 

My curriculum vitae is available at: Frieden CV; my resume: Frieden Resume; and Penn State profiles: College of Communications and Penn State School of Law.  In 2015 the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society invited me to serve as a Faculty Affiliate.


Brief Summary of the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order and Judicial Review

          On March 12, 2015 the FCC released its Open Internet; see

          I have prepared a relatively brief summary of this 400 page document available at: Summary of 2015 Open Internet Order.

          By a 2-1 vote, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the FCC’s decision; see$file/15-1063-1619173.pdf.

          I have a prepared a short summary of the decision at: Open Internet Court Decision June 2016.

          I’m also looking into the space component in the Internet of Things and participated in live discussion of evolving space law issues, available at:

TeleFrieden the Blog

        I have created a provocative blog containing my thoughts and analyses of information, communications and entertainment ("ICE") issues.  See  The blog will concentrate on important legal, regulatory, marketplace and cultural issues that warrant closer scrutiny particularly in light of the proliferation of "research" that supports a particular stakeholder's viewpoint without having disclosed direct or indirect financial sponsorship.

Best Practices Toolkits for the World Bank

       I have helped prepare two quite helpful primers on regulatory and broadband development best practices organized by the World Bank's InfoDev unit. See: ICT Regulation Toolkit and Broadband Strategies Toolkit.

Recent Conference Presentations (most in Powerpoint)

Standards Prospective: Big Data and Internet of Things—Promoting Interoperability via Open Standards and Semantic Technologies, A presentation at the ITU Workshop on Internet of Things Applications for Development (April 25, 2017) Port of Spain, TRINIDAD and TOBAGO; available at: Internet of Things Interoperability.

The Mixed Blessing in Subsidized Internet Access, A presentation at the 7th Annual Workshop on Internet Economics, Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA (Dec. 9, 2016); available at: Zero Rating Presentation.

Introduction to International Telecommunications Law—Satellites; available at: Satellite Basics.

Thoughts on Best Practices Implementation of Initiatives for the Americas Created at the 2014 World Telecommunications Development Conference and in the Dubai Action Plan, a presentation at 2016 Americas Regional Development Forum, Brasilia, BRAZIL  (June 15, 2016); available at: ICT Development Priorities.

Machine-to-Machine, Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing and New Business Opportunities, a presentation at the ITU/BDT Regional Economic and Financial Forum of Telecommunications/ICTs for Latin America and the Caribbean, Brasilia, BRAZIL  (June 14, 2016); available at: Brazil ITU Presentation.

Conflict in the Networks of Networks: How Internet Service Providers Have Shifted From Partners to Adversaries, a presentation at the 2016 Annual Scientific Seminar on the Economics, Law and Policy of Communications Media: Competition and Regulation in Infrastructure and Digital Markets, European University Institute, Florence, ITALY (March 18, 2016); available at: 2016 EUI Presentation.

Teaching IP to Non-Law Students, a Presentation at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Schools New York, NY (Jan. 9, 2016); available at: AALS 2016 Presentation.ppt.

Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Approaches to Network Neutrality: A Comparative Assessment, a presentation at the 2015 Annual Scientific Seminar on the Economics, Law and Policy of Communications and Media: Policy Challenges in Digital Markets. European University Institute, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom Florence, ITALY (March 27, 2015); available at: EUI Presentation.

Interconnection Issues Raised in the Network Neutrality Debate, a presentation at the 2015 Annual Meeting of The Association of American Law Schools, Washington, D.C. (January 5, 2015); available at: 2015 AALS Meeting.

Current Telecommunications Issues and Their Impact on Sports Broadcasting, a presentation at the Fall 2014 Symposium of The Mississippi Sports Law Review University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, MS (October 17, 2014); available at: Sports Telecom Issues.

Something New to Say About Network Neutrality?, a presentation at Public Domain(s): Law, Generating Knowledge inthe Information Economy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (Oct. 2, 2014); available at: MSU Law Conference.

A Primer on Local Number Portability, a presentation at the Ministerial Workshop on a Regional Approach to Number Portability Organized by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union Radisson Grenada Beach Resort (January 16, 2014); available at:  LNP Primer.

Regulation vs. Market-based Mechanisms for the Internet's Future, a presentation at the 6th Annual University of Nebraska College of Law, Washington, D.C. Space & Cyber Law Conference (November 5, 2013); available at: Nebraska Law School Conference.

The Impact of Next Generation Television on Consumers and the First Amendment, a presentation at the 2013 Conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Washington, D.C. (August 10, 2013); available at: IPTV and the First Amendment

Mapping the Broadband Ecosystem, a Presentation at: Faceoff: A Fact-Based Debate on U.S. Internet Policy and Access Networks, organized by The Internet Ecosystem Economics Task Force, Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2013); available at: Mapping the Broadband Ecosystem.

The Rise of Quasi-Common Carriers and Conduit Convergence,  a presentation at Competition and Innovation in the Broadband Age, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, Columbus, OH (March 22, 2013); available at: Quasi Common Carriage.

Terminating the PSTN: The Clear, Cloudy and Obscure Issues, an ex parte presentation submitted to the FCC Technologies Transitions Policy Task Force (March, 2013); available at: Terminating the PSTN.

The Mixed Blessing of a Deregulatory Endpoint for the Public Switched Telephone Network, a presentation at End of the Phone System Conference, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (May 17, 2012); available at: End of the PSTN.    

Do Conduit Neutrality Mandates Promote or Hinder Trust in Internet-mediated Transactions? a presentation at the ICRI Conference on Trust in the Information Society Leuven, Belgium  (November 14-15, 2011); available at: Trust in the Info Society.

Rationales For and Against FCC Involvement in Resolving Internet Service Provider Interconnection Disputes, a presentation at the 39th Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference Arlington, VA  (September, 24, 2011) available at: 2011 TPRC Presentation.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: What the FCC and the Public Need to Know About Wireless Competition, a presentation at Wireless Competition Assessment, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, School of Law, Arlington, VA  (May 18, 2011); available at:  GMU Wireless Panel

Additional Papers are available at the Social Science Research Network website:

Book Publication                                                

        The Yale University Press has published Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes: Can the U.S. Compete in Global Telecommunications? See

The book poses and answers a number of key questions including:

What must nations do to acquire and maintain competitive advantages in content and conduit?

If the information revolution was supposed to “change everything” how did over $1 trillion in investment largely evaporate in three years?

How can incumbent telephone companies successfully argue the need for next generation network investment incentives while at the same time claiming robust competition justifies deregulation?

How can nations successfully bridge a Digital Divide between residents that have access to, and can afford telecommunications links and content and residents that have neither?

If the telecommunications marketplace has become so robustly competitive where are the usual consumer benefits of lower prices, diverse choices, and consumer service?

Why does it appear that incumbent ventures can belatedly embrace new technologies yet eventually extend their market power by acquiring or extinguishing most competitive threats? and

Will the next generation Internet so lose its openness and accessibility that new ventures will not get a fair chance to become “the next big thing”?

I summarize some of the main points in this presentation: Summary and this one: Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes. Hearsay Culture, a radio interview show and podcast hosted by Dave Levine, an Assistant Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and a Non-Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at the Stanford Law School, discusses the book in a podcast available: 120). 

Broadband Law and Policy

        I am co-author of, and provide biannual updates to All About Cable and Broadband, a 650 page comprehensive analysis on the law and policies affecting cable satellite and broadband communications, first published in 1981.

For information about the book, published by Law Journal Press see:

Network Neutrality

            I am attempting to make sense of the Net Neutrality issue with an eye toward understanding what constitutes reasonable service differentiation and price discrimination by Internet Service Providers and what amounts to an unfair trade practice.  I also examine the lawful scope of regulatory authority the FCC currently has and strongly believe the Commission has no business extending federal Internet policy to content, applications and software that ride "over the top" of broadband networks. 

          I offer an unsponsored, introduction to the issues: Network Neutrality Introduction; see also Layered Network Neutrality Presentation; A Layered and Nuanced Assessment of Network Neutrality Rationales

          For a consideration whether and how ISPs can promote trust in the Internet cloud without also engaging in anticompetitive conduct see  Do Conduit Neutrality Mandates Promote or Hinder Trust in Internet-mediated Transactions?

          For a thoughtful and wide ranging discussion on the legal, regulatory and policy issues raised by network neutrality listen to a podcast hosted by Surprisingly Free, a project of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University Law School:

          My analysis stands midway between net neutrality "purists" who consider any form of service tiering a grave problem and advocates for total pricing, quality of service and interconnection flexibility.  A general Powerpoint presentation of the issues, entitled Internet 3.0: Identifying Problems and Solutions to the Network Neutrality Debate is available at: AEJMC 2007 Presentation.  I have written an introduction to the subject in as unbiased a manner as possible: Network Neutrality Primer.  A forward looking assessment of the impact of the debate on next generation networks is available: Network Neutrality and Next Generation Networks.

         An assessment of the First Amendment values impacted by the debate is available at: Network Neutrality and the First Amendment.

        A more comprehensive analysis, entitled Network Neutrality or Bias?-Handicapping the Odds for a Tiered and Branded Internet, is available at: in draft form and the final version is available at 29 Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, No. 2, pp. 171-216 (2007).  See also

        For a sense of what a fair minded compromise on the matter see: Internet 3.0: Identifying Problems and Solutions to the Network Neutrality Debate; also available at:  I also have responded to a debate between Professors Tim Wu and Christopher Yoo that appeared in the Federal Communications Law Journal, Volume 59, No.1: Wu-Yoo Debate Comments.

        For an assessment whether and how non-neutral networks affect ISP exemption from liability for copyright infringement and "fair use" rights see Net Neutrality and IPR. A powerpoint presentation of the paper is available: Packet Sniffing and DRM.      

For an update on recent developments, see Something New to Say About Network Neutrality?a presentation at Public Domain(s): Law, Generating Knowledge inthe Information Economy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (Oct. 2, 2014); available at: MSU Law Conference.

Wireless Carterfone and Network Neutrality

        Belatedly the network neutrality debate has begun to address the extent to which wireless subscribers can use their handsets to access any content, including software.  In 1968 the Federal Communications Commission's Carterfone policy required wireline telephone companies to decouple telecommunications service from the installation and maintenance of inside wiring and the lease or sale of telephones. Decades later the FCC may consider what rights wireless subscribers have to attach devices and access content of their choosing.  I have written a paper supporting wireless Carterfone for the New America Foundation; see  A summary of the paper is available at: Wireless Carterfone Paper Summary.

        For background on wireless network neutrality issues see: Wireless Net Neutrality Presentation.  For a comprehensive paper on wireless Carterfone and network neutrality see  Wireless Carterfone and Net Neutrality.

Broadband and Next Generation Network Development

        I recently prepared a comparative study of broadband development in six nations that the World Bank has included in a publication entitled: Building broadband: Strategies and policies for the developing world; available at:

For a relatively concise summary of the FCC's 375 page National Broadband Plan, see Summary of National Broadband Plan.

The Internet of Platform Intermediaries

          My latest research agenda subject examine two-sided markets and the power of Internet-based intermediaries who operate platforms linking consumers on the downstream side with upstream providers and distributors of content and applications.

          Here’s a presentation outlining preliminary findings: Platform Intermediaries.




            This course (offered by the Dickinson School of Law and the College of Communications at Penn State) aims to present, investigate, and debate ongoing or anticipated conflicts in specific telecommunications law and policy issues.  We will examine and debate a series of spectrum management, broadcasting, cable television, common carrier, Internet, resource allocation, and technology planning issues.  Students will prepare for each class by reading the assigned materials and generally taking responsibility to understand or pose questions about the positions of all major constituencies or coalitions involved.

            A syllabus is available at: Telecommunications Law and Policy.


This course will provide students an opportunity to develop a better sense of the media’s role in democracies and other governance systems.  We will strive to achieve greater understanding about the media’s multifaceted role as an integral part of democratic society, but also as a profit seeking business.  The course will examine the traditional literature with an eye toward assessing what fundamental freedoms and roles persist based on current philosophical and policy challenges.

In this course, students will learn to:  examine the role of established and new media in a representative democracy; demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of media professionals and institutions in helping to frame public policies; think critically, creatively and independently; express complex thoughts in the spoken and written word; and assess how and when the media works independently of, or cooperatively with, public policy stakeholders.

The course should have broad appeal to students including degree candidates in political science, history, economics, philosophy, and information science.  Both written assignments and in class tests will assess student performance.

The undergraduate syllabus is available at: Media and Democracy Course.  The graduate version is available at: Graduate Media and Democracy Course.


Comm 492 Internet Law and Policy

Comm 484 Emerging Telecommunications and Information Processing Technologies

Comm 403 Law of Mass Communication

Attention Prospective Students!! If you like what you see above, please consider Penn State's College of Communications for your undergraduate or graduate studies.  See

Here is some unsolicited advice on achieving success in college: Student Advice.