WASHINGTON - "Both consumers and Internet content and applications providers want unfettered access to each other across the reaches of cyberspace, and market forces are driving service providers to offer open systems," said Tom Tauke, senior vice president for Public Policy & External Affairs at Verizon.
Speaking today at the Net Neutrality Conference sponsored by the Progress and Freedom Foundation, Tauke urged the Federal Communications Commission to move promptly to establish a national policy for broadband services. "Consumers and the network, software, applications and content industries have all been waiting . . . and waiting . . . for the FCC to act. Investment is on hold while the FCC ponders," he said.
He encouraged the FCC to embrace the principles suggested by the High Tech Broadband Coalition. Those principles are designed to ensure that consumers continue to have unlimited or "boundless" access to the Internet, no matter what underlying wireline technology they are using.
At the same time, Tauke warned against turning the principles into regulations. "The FCC should make it clear that legacy regulations do not apply to these new networks and services," he said. "By embracing the High Tech Broadband Coalition's principles, it should set expectations for the development of the market. It should then watch how the market develops and act only if there is a market failure."
Most importantly, he said, the FCC should ensure that all new broadband services brought to the market are placed in a "regulatory-free zone."
"For existing services, we understand that there is pressure to have a period of transition. As long as there is a firm sunset of rules after a short period, perhaps two years, we could live with that," he said. "But after that transition, any rules to ensure net neutrality should apply to all wireline carriers, not just the telecom carriers." He continued:
"A competitive market will ensure that all content providers - those who have something to offer consumers - will be able to reach any Internet-connected customer without interference from software, hardware or access providers, regardless of affiliation.
"This is the promise of broadband. Old rules and legacy regulations should not apply to impede its growth."
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.