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Conference: Understanding Disruptive Innovation: The Cases of Internet, Telecom, and Electricity

Over the last thirty years, technological change has accelerated at an increasing rate, threatening established business models and upending whole sectors of the economy. In the case of telecommunications, the rise of wireless services and Voice over Internet Protocol, for example, have transformed what was once a monopoly service. More generally, Internet services have regularly developed in a "disruptive" fashion, undermining existing business models. And in today's electric power sector, many analysts and commentators point to the rise of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, demand response, and storage, as a disruptive threat to prevailing regulatory and business models. This conference will evaluate the increasing speed of disruptive innovation and its limits in these three sectors. In the telecommunications context, for example, there is a still only limited competition in the last mile–notably, where broadband services to consumers and businesses do not face robust competition. And in electric power, questions remain whether the type of disruptive innovation seen in telecom–for example, the rise of wireless services–provides a useful analogy for understanding the changes currently taking place in that sector. By viewing these issues in comparative context, this conference seeks to shed light on the nature and limits of technological change in these three sectors, the role and potential limits of disruptive innovation, and the appropriate response for policy and regulation.

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CLE Credits
General: 0
Ethics: 0