Verizon Submits Plan to Reform Intercarrier Compensation System

WASHINGTON - Verizon filed a comprehensive proposal Friday (Sept. 12) with the Federal Communications Commission to help the agency meet its goal of reforming the nation's outdated intercarrier compensation system this year. 

Building on the supportive letter sent to the commission last month by a broad coalition of technology, telecommunications and wireless companies, Verizon's filing outlines a "straightforward and workable" plan to "sustain rural network infrastructure and other communications networks that consumers depend on, while encouraging investment in new, innovative services (including broadband) nationwide."

Verizon designed the plan with a special focus on ensuring the viability of rural telecommunications infrastructures by providing carriers with a predictable and reliable source of support to replace the current unstable access charge regime.

"Every indication is that the FCC plans to make comprehensive reforms this year," said Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president for public affairs, policy and communications.  "That is good news for consumers.  And rural carriers should benefit if the FCC replaces the current unstable and uncertain access revenue stream with more predictable and reliable support."

Verizon's filing points to the many changes in technology and the marketplace that make reform necessary.

"The communications landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade and now bears little resemblance to the world Congress faced in 1996," Verizon wrote.  "Today, new, next-generation platforms based on Internet protocol (IP) are offering incredible new opportunities for consumers and businesses.  These revolutionary new services challenge the traditional concepts of geography and location that were the cornerstones of the existing intercarrier compensation regime."

In recognition of these changes, the industry coalition letter sent to the FCC on August 6 said a critical component of any reform should be to "clarify the regulatory requirements associated with the fastest-growing segment of the communications industry - Internet protocol-based technology and services." 

The coalition consists of the VON Coalition, Verizon, T-Mobile, The Telecommunications Industry Association, Sprint, PointOne, New Global Telecom, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Information Technology Industry Council, Global Crossing, CTIA - the Wireless Association, CompTIA and AT&T.

"There is widespread agreement throughout the industry that the time for comprehensive intercarrier compensation and universal service reform has come," Verizon wrote in its filing.  "The Commission should remove obstacles to progress and innovation ...by adopting Verizon's intercarrier compensation proposal, along with the joint USF contribution proposal submitted with AT&T, without delay."

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 69 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 more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.