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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 22, 2009

Verizon Chairman Expresses Concerns Over FCC 'Net Neutrality' Proposal at SuperComm

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg criticized the FCC’s (News - Alert) forthcoming proposal on policies to preserve an open Internet at this week's SuperComm (News - Alert) 2009.
Seidenberg’s keynote speech on Wednesday at the conference in Chicago kicked off with a focus on feel-good topics like the investment in exciting new technologies. But that didn’t stop Seidenberg from speaking his mind about the FCC’s controversial network neutrality proposal, which the commission released Thursday.  
According to reports, the Verizon (News - Alert) executive took issue with “proponents of net neutrality” who suggest that “network providers like Verizon and applications providers like Google (News - Alert), Amazon and others occupy fundamentally different parts of the Internet ecosystem -- a binary world of ‘dumb pipes’ on the one hand and ‘smart applications’ on the other.”
He also said that the FCC’s policy fundamentally misreads how innovation happens, according to reports.
“Our industry has shown that we can work with the government as well as our partners and competitors to achieve mutually desirable goals of more competition, consumer choice and broadband expansion,” Seidenberg reportedly told attendees, suggesting that the FCC focus on creating the conditions for growth. “But we can’t achieve these ends if we interrupt the flow of private capital and delay the cascading productivity impacts of a more networked world.”
Verizon joins a number of other major wireless carriers that have expressed concern over the FCC’s forthcoming ‘net neutrality’ rules.
Earlier this month, in an address at CTIA’s semi-annual convention, AT&T (News - Alert) Mobility and Consumer Markets President and CEO Ralph de la Vega called for a constructive, fact-based dialog with the FCC on the impact of new regulation on America’s growing and world-leading wireless industry.

“Before we begin ‘fixing’ what isn’t broken, we need to be thoughtful about the consequences. We believe the marketplace today is vibrant, and there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations,” said de la Vega. “Imposing new regulations on an intensely-competitive market that has been such a phenomenal success could have unforeseen consequences for jobs, investment, innovation, networks, and how the industry structures and prices services to customers.”
Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Editor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri