Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Verizon CEO: Fed Moves Could Jump-Start Industry

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NEWTON, Mass. — Relaxing federal regulations on Baby Bells and establishing a national broadband policy will jump-start the IT sector and broader economy,
Ivan Seidenberg, president and CEO of Verizon Communications , told about 250 members of the
Massachusetts Software & Internet Council at its fall membership meeting this morning.

“Public policy (makers) spend more time trying to carve up our company than creating a focus on what they can do to promote new technologies,” Seidenberg said.

Among Washington dictums Verizon finds more egregious are: opening lines and facilities, which it paid millions of dollars to develop, to competitors; pricing
controls; and subsidiary rules that require the company to set up a separate entity for some services, running additional overhead costs.

Combined with a faltering economy, regulations caused Verizon, the New York firm formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE in 2000, to cut investment in capital expenses in the
Bay State alone by approximately 40 percent over the past two years to between $500 million and $600 million.

If communications companies can devote more money to new technologies, it will help smaller players, Seidenberg said, noting that Verizon “buys a lot of software.”

Likewise, adopting an ambitious goal for the number of households and businesses with high-speed Internet connections would also spur the sector. Extended
access will undoubtedly drive development of new Web enabled devices and home networking systems, as well as improve distance learning and telecommuting

Seidenberg acknowledges that bumping the number of broadband users would be good for Verizon’s business. He contends however that it would also help end
users and competitors that use the company’s networks.

The call echoed an address from 3Com Chairman Eric Benhamou who addressed the MS&I Council in January. Benhamou, a member of the The Technology Network, a San Jose, Calif., industry lobbying group, want to connect 100 million U.S. homes and small businesses to
high-speed Internet by 2010.

In conclusion, Seidenberg urge MS&I Council members to contact their lawmakers on the issues of regulation and broadband policy, which the goal of showing
decision makers the wide-ranging repercussions of their actions.

“This is our fight, I hope you’ll make this your fight as well,” he said.

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