There are all sorts of year-end / best-of / Top 10 lists being put together right now, but I haven’t seen anyone offer up a “Most Important Tech Policy Developments of 2006” list. Geez, isn’t everyone else on the planet as interested in this nerdy stuff as we are?!
Anyway, I’d don’t have a top ten list, but I do have a nomination for the story that I think belongs on the top of such a list. I think the biggest tech policy story of 2006 was the heated political battle over Net Neutrality regulation and the fact that Congress did NOT pass legislation mandating it. It was a hell of a battle, pitting titans of industry against each other. And in intellectual circles it had policy wonks foaming at the mouth. (You can find all our rumblings on the topic here).
I don’t think this debate is over, but I’m not sure it will ever be as heated of an affair as it was this year. I also doubt that Net Neutrality mandates have nearly as good of a chance of passing through Congress this coming session since it is less likely there will be a major communications reform bill to attach it to. And there’s no way Net Neutrality regulation will pass as a stand-alone measure. There’s just too much opposition to it. It would have to be passed as part of some grand communications law reform compromise measure.
Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing what others think was the biggest tech policy story of 2006, or at least belongs on the Top 10 list.