WASHINGTON - Saying the nation's economy and consumers will be best served by allowing traditional phone companies to compete effectively in the fast rollout of broadband networks, Verizon's Senior Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs today urged immediate action by federal regulators to lift regulations that are restraining investment.
Speaking at a national broadband summit sponsored by federal and state regulatory associations, Tom Tauke called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use its successful "hands-off" policy for cable broadband as a model and to set the same policy for telephone company-provided broadband.
"When regulators began to make it clear that cable broadband could operate in a largely deregulated manner, the result was $70 billion in capital investment over a seven-year period that built cable broadband into a position of dominance," said Tauke, speaking at a luncheon before the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners and the National Exchange Carriers Association
Tauke predicted a similar response from the wireline telephone industry if the FCC sets the right policy. "On the strength of what we believe the FCC is going to do, Verizon already is investing," he said. "We are investing billions to upgrade switching, transport and other parts of our network. We are upgrading our networks to make DSL available to 10 million more households this year. And in the years to come, we expect to be moving fiber closer to the home and small business."
With the right policies the wireline telephone sector will be an engine of robust growth for the economy and a provider of competitive alternatives to cable as incumbent companies convert their current networks into broadband networks. In order to build such networks the wireline industry will need to place orders for more than $100 billion in the next ten years. Orders will be needed for fiber, for routers and switches. These orders will create jobs and incomes from Corning, New York to San Jose, California.
"The technology is there. The markets are there. But the policy is not yet there," said Tauke. "The investment needed for that last-mile build-out of fiber to the customer premises will never materialize as long as investors live with the fear that future regulation will take away their gains. It is the FCC's responsibility to move promptly to take away that fear."
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.