Verizon Comments on FCC Chairman's Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Wednesday (Dec. 1) laid out his proposal for rules dealing with the issue of net neutrality. The following statement should be attributed to Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy and communications:

"Verizon appreciates the efforts of Chairman Genachowski to seek a consensus on the contentious issue of net neutrality.

"The stated objective of this initiative - an open Internet - is not at issue.  In fact, we are the only major ISP that has publicly embraced non-discrimination obligations for both its wireline and wireless broadband Internet access services. We are walking the talk.  We are doing so because we believe this is good for our customers and good for our business.

"The only issue is the extent to which the FCC should regulate in this area.  In this fast-moving marketplace, inappropriate regulation can be very harmful to consumers, companies, and the ability of this industry to create jobs, provide new services, and be an engine for economic growth. That is why it is so important that policymakers get this right.

"In tackling this issue, the FCC is hamstrung by an antiquated communications statute. That's why this issue should be addressed by Congress.  Verizon has consistently called on Congress to update and reform the statute and adopt public policies that will encourage an open Internet, as well as promote investment and innovation across the Internet marketplace.

"If the FCC decides to act on the net neutrality issue, we urge the commissioners to recognize the limitations of the current statute and the rapidly changing conditions in the marketplace and make any rules it adopts interim, rather than permanent.  Specifically, the commission should consider the framework of the Waxman proposal, including its sunset provision.  The FCC's authority to act in this area is uncertain, and Congress has indicated a strong interest in addressing this issue; interim rules would encourage congressional action, while showing appropriate deference to Congress.

"We do not know the provisions of the proposal the chairman has circulated to the other commissioners, and we will reserve judgment until the document is made public and we have a chance to review it.  We will continue to work constructively with the FCC and other policymakers on these issues."