10.23.2015Public Policy

Verizon comments to NY PSC: Policies should promote innovation and investment in state

New York State

NEW YORK – Verizon today urged the New York State Public Service Commission to implement regulatory reforms, similar to actions taken by most other states, to promote innovation and investment in the state’s telecommunications industry.

That conclusion is central to comments the company filed with the commission in response to the agency’s “Assessment of Telecommunications Services” in New York State, which it released this past June.

The company also recommended that the state should seek to ensure that all companies competing with each other in the communications ecosystem operate under the same rules, and that those rules reflect today’s competitive marketplace realities.

Despite financial challenges, Verizon-New York has invested more than $22.2 billion in its wireline network in New York State since 2000 – with more than $1billion in 2014 alone, the last full year’s investment figure.

Verizon has provided excellent service quality under the commission’s service plan approved in 2010, and has met competition head on by deploying its fiber-optic network and associated state-of-the-art fios services in 186 municipalities across the state. 

The company added that the commission should not “roll back the clock – as some parties have recommended – by reinstating obsolete models for regulating traditional providers that would ill-serve the needs of the State and its people in the 21st century.”

Supporting its filing, the company submitted a comprehensive economic analysis of the state of telecommunications in New York, prepared by Georgetown University economist John W. Mayo.

In his analysis, Dr. Mayo states: “As seen in both studies, much of the recent evolution in the telecommunications industry has happened in wireless and broadband, two areas where regulation has generally followed a light-touch approach. Yet much of the current, largely residual regulatory framework in wireline telecommunications was put in place in an era where the industry was dominated by local monopolies and competition from wireless communications or broadband did not exist.”

The Mayo study continues: “The analysis indicates that the steps New York has taken to reform regulatory constraints on local exchange telecommunications providers have been met with a host of beneficial results for consumers. It also indicates that New York can both confidently move forward with a more relaxed regulatory posture toward the industry and, armed with the results based regulatory principles (as described in the study), can adapt in the future to the evolving market.”

The company said it supports the commission Staff’s assessment that the communications market has radically changed and is highly competitive. It added that the commission should stay the course on its regulatory policy which has incentivized competition and technological advancement. 

Specifically, the company called on the commission to implement the following principles:

  • A “light touch” regulatory regime;
  • Leveling the competitive playing field;
  • Primary reliance on competition rather than regulation to serve consumer interests;
  • Periodic regulatory review and sunset; and
  • Avoidance of protectionism.

The company added that “measures consistent with these principles have been adopted in a number of other states with good results.”

As its comments note, the company is fully committed to New York State as one of the largest employers, one of the largest real property tax-payers and a major supporter of businesses, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises throughout the state.

Good Corporate Citizen

Verizon creates jobs through the billions of dollars it spends annually with vendors. The company is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, one of only 21 U.S. companies that conduct more than $1 billion in business with U.S. minority and women-owned enterprises (MWBEs) each year. Last year, Verizon spent more than $5 billion in business with MWBEs and provided business opportunities to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses across the country. In addition, the company has been named, among other acknowledgements, on Working Mother’s “100 Best Companies for Women” list, a “Top 50 Employer” by Workforce Diversity Magazine, and by Military Times as the number one company in the country for recruiting and hiring veterans and service members.