California Must Update Telecom Rules to Promote Competition, Stimulate Economy

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Verizon is calling upon California regulators to overhaul outdated telecom rules to bring consumers the benefits of vigorous competition and stimulate robust growth in the state's economy.

"California once led the nation toward a progressive telecommunications policy," said Verizon Pacific Region President Tim McCallion. "But today's regulations were designed for a wireline-only world that existed over a decade-and-a-half ago."

Verizon laid out a balanced plan for reform in formal comments filed this week as part of the California Public Utilities Commission's rulemaking to revise the state's telecom regulations.

"Our proposal best ensures access to modern, affordable and high-quality telecommunications service for all Californians," McCallion said. "It would allow California, once again, to lead the nation in terms of progressive telecommunications policy."

Verizon's regulatory plan calls for progressive changes that would benefit consumers by promoting robust competition -- treating all telecom providers more equally, regardless of the technological platform they use to provide service. In addition, the plan would continue to safeguard consumers by providing price caps for basic wireline services and uniform statewide retail rates.

Current regulations fail to address the transformation of the industry brought about by new technologies. Wireless, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), broadband and competition from cable television companies have fundamentally expanded the telecom options available to consumers. But regulations first adopted sixteen years ago for wireline telephone service have not kept pace. Instead, they have slowed investment and innovation, denying consumers the benefits of lower prices, greater choices, more competitive bundles and new services.

Wireline telecommunications companies like Verizon operate under layers of regulation put in place before the Internet revolutionized communications, while other voice providers such as cable and VoIP companies have no such limitations. Updated rules will provide Verizon flexibility to compete with new rivals.

Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.