No question about an open internet

By: Craig Silliman

Over the past several days there have been questions about Verizon’s position on “wireless net neutrality,” and whether we support imposing the same net neutrality regulatory regime on mobile broadband that some wish to see imposed on wireline broadband networks. The answer is no.

As Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, recently reiterated, Verizon is committed to an open Internet. We provide customers with an open Internet on both our wireline and our wireless networks. We are committed to providing an open Internet for our customers and make that clear in a set of principles that we have posted on our website. You can review those principles here.

But this debate has never been about an open Internet – everyone supports that. It has been about how heavily broadband should be regulated. Supporting an open Internet and supporting the imposition on wireless networks of a regulatory regime first written for the rotary phone are two very different things. Our comments in the “Open Internet” proceeding have been consistent, and you can review them here and here.

As our filings make clear – and as the “Open Internet Order” in 2010 made clear – the FCC recognized that “wireless is different.” Robust competition in the mobile broadband marketplace has led to a remarkable level of innovation that is constantly changing and accelerating. Moreover, unique technical challenges, including limited spectrum and other operational issues, require a different approach than the one-size-and-speed-fits-all approach that net neutrality advocates seem so fixated on. Just as important: consumers benefit most when mobile-service providers have the flexibility to experiment and innovate to win their business. Heavy regulation could stifle creativity and innovation even more in the rapidly changing and highly competitive mobile environment than it will in the wireline environment.

In short, Verizon fully supports an open Internet. We are and will continue to provide it to our customers. But we do not support the imposition of new, onerous net neutrality regulations on wireless networks. Such regulations wouldn’t be good for consumers, for innovators or the networks themselves.

Craig Silliman is Verizon’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Public Policy. He leads Verizon’s legal, regulatory, public policy, government affairs and security groups. Before assuming his current position in January 2015, Silliman was senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, with responsibility for Verizon's global public policy, federal and state legislative affairs, federal regulatory affairs, strategic alliances, national security, privacy and corporate citizenship.  Prior to that, Silliman served in a number of other senior management roles at Verizon. He was senior vice president and general counsel for Verizon's wireline consumer, business and wholesale groups globally, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel, with responsibility for antitrust, intellectual property, national security, privacy and strategic product support.