Legislation Introduced by Senators Breaux and Nickles would Promote Competition and Consumer Choice for High-Speed Internet Service

BACKGROUND -- Senators John Breaux (D-La.) and Don Nickles (R-Okla.) today introduced the Broadband Regulatory Parity Act of 2002, a bill that would encourage competition and consumer access to broadband Internet technology. The following response should be attributed to Tom Tauke, senior vice president for Public Policy and External Affairs at Verizon.

"Verizon vigorously supports the bipartisan bill introduced today by John Breaux and Don Nickles.

"Consumers everywhere want faster and higher quality Internet services. Current regulatory barriers stand in the way of delivering those services to all Americans. This bill, which represents regulatory fairness, would clear away the roadblocks that inhibit investment and pave the way for vigorous competition on the information superhighway. It would ensure that all competitors have access to high-speed networks and that consumers have a choice in service providers and content.

"Cable modem service today dominates the high-speed Internet market with two-thirds market share. The providers of that service have none of the regulatory rules and requirements faced by companies like Verizon, which also provide high-speed Internet service.

"One clear lesson we've learned over the past few years is that high-speed Internet service isn't just a better connection to the Internet -- it is necessary for the whole economy to continue to grow. High-speed Internet services will allow businesses to operate more efficiently -- transmitting data at lightning speed. Consumers will benefit from more competitive prices and faster delivery of goods and services. Not only will consumers win, but small and medium-sized businesses also benefit greatly from deployment of high-speed services.

"Public policies such as those espoused in this legislation will lead to more choices in the marketplace and a healthier, stronger economy. Recent studies show that progressive regulatory policy -- like that espoused in this bill - will put $500 billion dollars back to work for the nation's economy and add 1.2 million new high-tech jobs for American workers.

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