Verizon Submits Recommendations for National Broadband Plan

WASHINGTON - Verizon on Monday (June 8) submitted its suggestions for the national broadband plan called for by Congress and President Obama.  The suggestions are contained in a detailed, 10-point proposal filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

"Verizon looks forward to working with policymakers and other stakeholders in developing broadband policies that will ensure broadband availability to all Americans, encourage widespread adoption of broadband services, and empower consumers to make their own choices," Verizon said in its filing.

The FCC is assembling recommendations for Congress to consider for the plan, which is due in February 2010.

"A lively and open ecosystem of innovation and investment has helped to make broadband an integral part of the lives of millions of Americans, providing an ever-expanding array of services, applications and devices to address nearly any conceivable purpose," Verizon said.  "Most consumers have choices among ever-more-robust broadband networks that meet their needs at home, at work, and on the go."

To continue that progress, Verizon suggested that, "Policymakers should ensure that any new policies maintain the healthy dynamics of the broadband marketplace that are currently creating and preserving jobs and leading to additional choices for consumers."

"But much work remains to be done for broadband to achieve its full potential in the United States," the company said.

"First, policymakers - together with industry and other stakeholders - need to find ways of ensuring that all Americans have access to broadband," Verizon said.  "Well over 90 percent" of Americans have access to broadband, and most can choose from at least two wireline, three wireless and two satellite broadband providers. This is a level of facilities-based competition hardly seen in any other country in the world. But gaps in access remain in some hard-to-serve, rural areas.

"Any national broadband plan should have as a top priority filling those gaps," the company said in its filing.

"Second, in many more areas, work remains to be done to address the other factors that prevent too many consumers from adopting broadband services," Verizon said. "Roughly 40 percent of Americans do not adopt broadband when it is available to them." 

According to studies, the primary factors include the lack of computers and computer literacy, as well as "the failure to appreciate the potential relevance of broadband" to consumers' lives, Verizon said.

"Third, consumers should be empowered with choices in services, applications and devices that meet their many evolving uses of broadband," Verizon said. "[That] will depend on broadband providers and other providers of Internet services, applications and devices continuing to innovate and invest to spread the reach and capabilities of broadband and to continue the evolution of broadband networks and the services, applications, and devices that use broadband or the public Internet."

Verizon urged the FCC to include the following 10 elements in its recommendations to Congress:

  • A focused effort to encourage broadband demand.

  • A consumer-choice framework.

  • Encouraging continued innovation to improve cybersecurity for consumers and the nation.

  • Pursuing a consumer-focused approach to privacy.

  • Facilitating wireless broadband.

  • Pursuing a pro-growth regulatory approach.

  • Reforming the universal service fund to encourage broadband.

  • Encouraging broadband by encouraging IP-based services.

  • Effective implementation of stimulus programs.

  • Encouraging broadband adoption and deployment through tax reform.

"By following this consumer-focused, pro-growth and pro-innovation framework and taking these steps to encourage broadband deployment and adoption, policymakers would encourage broadband deployment and adoption, and would empower consumers with an increasing array of choices," Verizon told the FCC.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: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 86 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 237,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.