ASPEN, Colo. - The information and communications sectors are experiencing one of the greatest periods of innovation in their history, as entrepreneurs compete to provide consumers with increased speed, mobility and content over broadband networks. But, according to the Verizon senior executive who manages his company's large investment in networks, future breakthroughs will also depend upon appropriate public policy, as well as cooperative industry efforts to set standards.
In a keynote address Tuesday (Aug. 19) at the Progress and Freedom Foundation's annual Aspen Summit, Verizon Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Dick Lynch urged a "change in mindset on the part of policymakers to acknowledge the realities of the 100-megabit world" and suggested that other industry participants be pragmatic as well.
"The public interest can best be served by getting as much broadband in front of as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and ensuring that investment keeps up with demand," Lynch said. "To a large extent, this is a matter of taking down the barriers to investment and refraining from erecting new ones."
As examples, Lynch cited "removing entry barriers to facilitate investment, as New York City has recently done in granting a franchise" to Verizon to bring FiOS TV to all city residents, and "forming partnerships and revamping the Universal Service Fund to bring broadband to rural communities." He compared these examples with the "over-taxation of innovation, such as we currently see to a disproportionate degree in the wireless industry."
Lynch said the "high-passion" issue of network management is a "major public policy concern" that can be resolved in a way that preserves proper network management techniques. "We believe that network and applications providers can and must work together to find solutions that work for the industry and for our customers," he said, "and Verizon has taken a leadership role in doing just that."
To that end, Verizon and Pando Networks co-founded the P4P Working Group in 2007. Lynch said the group identified "techniques which, in field tests, have dramatically reduced network costs and congestion while noticeably improving the performance of the service to the customer." He said he expects those techniques "to be adopted as an Internet standard" and "by all major network and peer-to-peer providers."
Lynch said the pragmatism displayed in the P4P Working Group's success "offers a model of the kind of industry cooperation and collaboration that should be used to address the emerging challenges of the Internet industry." But he noted that government has "a legitimate role in helping to define the public interest, establish principles and adjudicate conflicts."
"Dynamic industries like ours require flexible solutions that can evolve and adapt to a changing environment - not rigid regulatory solutions that are one step behind the marketplace," he said.
The title of this year's Aspen Summit - "Unlocking Innovation: Has the Key Been Misplaced?" - provided Verizon's top engineer the opportunity to showcase a variety of breakthroughs. Lynch said broadband investment is up 40 percent over the last four years, with speeds doubling, on average, every 20 months. That new capacity enables "equally amazing advances in applications, services and equipment," he said.
Verizon's 700 megahertz spectrum purchase, the choice of LTE technology for its fourth-generation wireless network, its wireless Open Development Initiative, and the company's superior, FiOS fiber-to-the home network position Verizon as a market leader, Lynch said.
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.