Verizon CEO Says America Has a Leadership Role in Advancing the Next Era of Global Internet-Driven Growth

Arguing against the conventional wisdom that America lags in wireless and broadband, Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's chairman and CEO, said that the country stacks up well in today's global market in terms of choice, usage and quality of broadband networks.

Seidenberg answered questions during a session today at the Council on Foreign Relations here, and in an advance statement he observed that "the center of gravity when it comes to innovation has shifted decisively to the U.S."  He expressed optimism about America's capacity to lead the next era of global, Internet-driven economic growth and development.

Seidenberg said that "the smart phone revolution" is already centered in the U.S., and that America's communications companies are deploying "game-changing" fiber networks and 4G LTE (fourth-generation, Long Term Evolution) wireless networks that "will leapfrog the world in wireless."  He added that the vast majority of Americans have access to two or more broadband networks, and that the U.S. already has higher broadband penetration and wireless data usage than Europe as a whole.

"These technologies are at the heart of American competitiveness and global economic progress," Seidenberg said.

He noted that LTE is "rapidly becoming a global standard," and it is a technology that "will certainly be the most economical way to drive broadband to underserved populations, both here and abroad."

The 'Internet of Things'

"In a 4G world, wireless will connect everything," Seidenberg said. "There's really no limit to the number of connections that can be part of the mobile grid: vehicles, appliances, buildings, roads, medical monitors.  This 'Internet of Things' will infuse intelligence into all our systems and present us with a whole new way to run a home, an enterprise, a community or an economy."

Seidenberg said he has "a profoundly optimistic vision of the benefits communications technology can deliver for the world."  To achieve that vision, he outlined four challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Investing in a bigger and better Internet, with the government creating an environment conducive to required capital investments.

  • Ensuring the Internet is kept secure through the use of network intelligence innovations that may be hampered by policies such as net neutrality.

  • Increasing America's capacity for innovation through educational programs that close any talent gap in science, technology, engineering and math.

  • Expanding a culture of openness and freedom, so that governments worldwide do not restrict their citizens' use of the Internet.

The bravery and ingenuity displayed in using the Internet to outsmart and ultimately to open previously closed societies is a testament to the power of technology, and a larger testament to the power of values, Seidenberg said.

"It's because of the power of our values that I'm optimistic about America's capacity to lead the next era of Internet-driven growth," Seidenberg said.  "I look forward to continuing to build the platforms and deliver the innovations that will create a competitive, growing America."

The complete text of Seidenberg's statement is available at

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.