Summary - Social Graph of Evolving FCC Lobbying


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A summary of work in progress analyzing social graphs of FCC lobbying activity

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Summary - Social Graph of Evolving FCC Lobbying

  1. 1. The evolution of lobbying coalitions<br />Work in progress summary, 9/30/2009For more detail, see<br />Pierre de Vries, Economic Policy Research CenterUniversity of Washington, Seattle<br />
  2. 2. Conclusions<br />Graph-theory clusters representreal-world alliances<br />Tracking the evolution of clusters can reveal shifts in alliances<br />Improving FCC data will improve public knowledge of lobbying activity<br />
  3. 3. The Data<br />Metadata from FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) database<br />Focused on an inter-carrier compensation proceeding, FCC docket 01-92<br />2,9015 filings, 756 unique filers<br />Data from inception in April 2001 to December 2008<br />Considered sub-set where two or more entities file together<br />Filing entities (companies, associations, individuals) are nodes in a network; they’re linked when they make a filing together<br />The more often they file together, the darker the line between them<br />The number of times an entity filed is shown by the size of its node – this is a measure of investment/activity<br />More influential nodes are pink, less influential are blue – nodes are influential if they link to other nodes that are themselves highly linked<br />
  4. 4. Companies typically either always file solo, or always jointly<br />498 entities always filed alone, e.g. BellSouth, NARUC<br />152 entities always filed with someone else, e.g. Broadview, Maine PUC<br />25 entities filed with others in 40%-60% of cases, e.g. tw telecom, Pac-West<br />Solo filers excluded from co-filing analysis<br />
  5. 5. All the filings 2001-2008<br />
  6. 6. A Time Series<br />Looking at separate time periods shows how coalitions evolved<br />The source data set has day-by-day granularity; these snapshots are integrated over much longer periods<br />
  7. 7. 2001-2002<br />CLEC reply comments to NPRM<br />T-Mobile et al petition for declaratory ruling<br />
  8. 8. 2003-2004<br />CLECs’ “Cost-Based Intercarrier Compensation Coalition” (CBICC)<br />Intercarrier Compensation Forum, filed ICF Plan 5 Oct 2004<br />“Indep. Wireless Carriers”: T-Mobile, W Wireless, Dobson<br />“CMRS Petitioners”: T-Mobile, W Wireless, Nextel<br />
  9. 9. 2005 – summer 2006<br />CLECs<br />Major CLECs – FNPRM comments & replies<br />CLECs, some eventually merging e.g. Lightship, CTC, Conversent; and Xspedius & tw telecom<br />Rural LECs and their associations<br />
  10. 10. Fall 2006 – end 2007<br />Missoula Plan Allies<br />Missoula Plan Opponents:<br />Mix of CLECs, ILECs and Indep. Wireless<br />Oregon Rural LECs, supporting Missoula Plan<br />
  11. 11. Jan – July 2008<br />The calm before the storm<br />
  12. 12. Aug/Sep 2008<br />ILEC/IXC coalition: Ex parte advocating federalizing VOIP, uniform comp rate for all traffic<br />CLECs opposing <br /> Verizon’s September 12 proposal, incl. uniform rate<br />
  13. 13. Oct 2008<br />Five State regulatory commissions objecting to “eleventh hour filings”<br />Small ILECs trying to slow down process<br />Broadening CLEC coalition opposing change towards flat rate<br />Mid-size rural LECs opposing flat rate comp, supporting status quo<br />OPASTCO/WTA Plan<br />
  14. 14. Nov/Dec 2008<br />“Coalition for Rational Universal Service and Intercarrier Reform” – urban & rural CLECs<br />Opposition to AT&T/IXC “self-help” from small LEC and conf-call players<br />Rural cellular – note they’re closer to the CLECs than the RLECs<br />
  15. 15. Summary of Coalition Patterns<br />Opponents are connected: ILECs, CLECs, and cellular<br />Rural LECs and their associations keep to themselves<br />
  16. 16. Top 20 Impact Depends on Chosen Metric<br />* Filers that appear in three or more columns are color coded<br />
  17. 17. Value of the approach<br />Insiders can use graphs to identify:<br />detailed trends at a glance<br />potential collaborators or defectors, e.g. by looking for coalition members who are bridges between groups, or peripheral<br />Outsiders can grasp the overall structure of a proceeding without having to read the entire record<br />Communications and advocacy players can use:<br />cluster evolution to find and show changes in coalitions<br />network structure to guide understanding of search results<br />
  18. 18. Implications for the Regulator<br />Poor quality of information input by filers impedes transparency<br />Require more information in metadata<br />Use standard web techniques to facilitate data input and retrieval<br />Improve systems for correctingerrors<br />