WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau said tonight that Verizon's efforts to compete with the cable industry for customers are legal and do not constitute anticompetitive practices, as three cable companies asserted in a February complaint to the agency. In addition, the decision recommends that the commission open a rulemaking proceeding on consumer and competitive benefits of customer retention marketing practices. Finally, the decision recommends that the rulemaking conclude that customer retention marketing practices be made consistent across all platforms. In filings with the agency last week, Verizon said the cable industry routinely missed FCC time targets for moving customers to other carriers and engaged in practices making it harder for consumers to switch to a new television provider than it is to change voice providers. The following is a statement on tonight's bureau action by Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president for public affairs, policy and communications:
"The FCC is taking the opportunity presented by an industry dispute to initiate a constructive review of the practices of carriers that affect consumers' ability to choose among competing services and to switch among providers.
"These are good times for consumers because robust competition is breaking out in the video and communications marketplace. Consumers are best served by robust competition. As the FCC looks at the rules, it should note that consumers cannot enjoy the full benefits of competition if companies are blocked from providing information on new choices. The cable industry's effort in this complaint to suppress communications would reduce consumer choice, and the bureau's recommendation to reject it is legally correct and good policy.
"In addition to engaging in marketing practices similar to those it complained about here, the cable industry failed to comply with customer convenience measures telephone companies already practice."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.