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Information Economy Project

Clay T. Whitehead Remembered


A great American and valued friend of the IEP has been lost. Clay "Tom" Whitehead was a key historical figure, driving radical notions about competition in telecommunications before those ideas were in vogue. Indeed, when Dr. Whitehead organized the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy in 1971, most countries considered the U.S. a bit odd for having a private monopoly, AT&T, rather than a state PTT. Tom saw what others missed, however, envisioning a world in which private rivals offered businesses and individuals competitive voice, video or data services, tapping into innovative technologies and delivering the efficiencies of the market. The quality of that vision is reflected in the fact that today - not four decades later - it seems utterly obvious. Not nearly so when Tom launched his regulatory initiative, achieving one fundamental redefinition of U.S. policy, the "open skies" policy in satellites, and laying the predicate for myriad reforms to come.

After an illustrious government career, Tom achieved great success as an entrepreneur, and in recent years settled back into academia as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at GMU Law School. We were privileged to have Tom Whitehead as a colleague and are deeply saddened by his passing. Our sympathy extends to his family and friends, of which there were very many. We are honored to have been included in that fine circle.

Tribute to Clay T. Whitehead (presented at the 37th Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC), Arlington, Virginia, September 25, 2009)

Clay Whitehead Tribute by Lisa Sockett
Clay Whitehead Tribute by Thomas Hazlett

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Information Economy Project
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