Verizon's Public Policy Chief Describes Vision of Accessible Broadband Network

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ASPEN, Colo. -- Verizon's top public policy executive today told an industry group that
modest changes in current telecommunications policies would dramatically improve the
climate for investment in new technology and have a major impact on the nation's

Tom Tauke, senior vice president for Public Policy and External Affairs at
Verizon Communications, spoke
to Progress and Freedom Foundation conferees during the group's annual summit
in Aspen. (Read the speech.)

At the conference, Tauke said it is "deadly" to apply rules written for traditional voice
services to new high-speed data services and technology.

"That is not the way real technology-based businesses operate," he said. ''Progress in the
information and communications industry has always come from competition among
rival technologies.

"Regulation in broadband today is a failed attempt to induce uneconomic behavior on
behalf of the telecom industry," Tauke said. "It won't work, because it can't.

"If we do this right, the communications and computer industries will continue to
advance and grow together, fueled by the mutually reinforcing relationship between
increasingly robust platforms and ever-more inventive applications," he said.

Tauke said that to jump-start that kind of growth in broadband, the status quo just won't
cut it. Stimulating the flow of capital to fund the build-out of the "last mile" broadband
connections to the home requires a new approach to broadband regulation -- and the
choices are clear.

"You can regulate more, or regulate less," Tauke said. "We do not dispute the need for
regulatory oversight of basic telephone service. Nor are we advocating imposing new
regulations on our chief competitor, cable, through such requirements as open access

"However, when it comes to broadband, we need to be allowed to behave like a real
business. That means removing the old-economy rules that burden our new-economy

He said Verizon has a vision of an accessible broadband network whose benefits would
ripple widely across society:

  • As we change our networks to offer broadband, we're assuring every
    competitive carrier that they can either resell our services or use our network
    facilities to get access to any customer.
  • If you're a content provider or Internet service provider, you'll have open access
    to our network, with non-discriminatory treatment, terms and conditions.
  • If you're a consumer, you'll have access to more affordable broadband
    connections as mass deployment drives down the price points to more reasonable
  • If you're in the consumer electronics or equipment business, you'll have easier
    access to capital and greater demand for your technology.
  • If you're sitting on the next great "killer app," you'll have access to the kind of
    mass market the broadband world has been waiting for.
  • And no matter who you are or what your role in the digital economy, you'll
    finally have access to the next generation of innovative, life-enhancing services,
    content, software -- all made possible by the power of broadband.

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 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million
wireless customers. Verizon is also the world's largest provider of print and online directory
information. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in
annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia
and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit


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Slides from speech: "Laying the Last Mile"

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