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Prepared Remarks of Verizon EVP Tom Tauke

Prepared Remarks of Verizon EVP Tom Tauke

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Published by: John "CZ" Czwartacki on Mar 24, 2010
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03/24/2010

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Prepared Remarks of Verizon EVP Tom TaukeNew Democrat Network KeynoteWednesday, March 24, 2010Thank you, Simon.In San Jose, in the heart of the high-tech world, sitswhat’s known as the Winchester Mystery House. Itstarted out in the late 1880s as a small farmhouse andby the 1920s was transformed into a 160-room, seven-story Victorian mansion with doors and stairways thatlead no where, dead-end hallways, and mazes that canleave you lost for hours. The house grew that way – withno logic or plan – because the owner just kept adding,adjusting and adding again as needs or desiresrequired; the result is an architectural white elephant.In the world of communications policy, we have our own version of the Mystery House. It started as theRadio Act of 1929, was subsumed by theCommunications Act of 1934, and after numerousamendments during the last three-quarters century, it’sbecome an interesting maze that the FederalCommunications Commission and all of us attempt to
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navigate as we play various roles in the Internetecosystem.It’s time we turned our attention to this MysteryHouse and figured out how it can be remodeled to meetthe needs of a new era. This task is all the moreimportant because, thanks to the efforts of the FederalCommunications Commission, we now have a NationalBroadband Plan, which lays out a vision for a vibrantbroadband and Internet marketplace. In my view, thecurrent statute is badly out of date. Now is the time tofocus on updating the law affecting the Internet. To fulfillbroadband’s potential it’s time for Congress to take afresh look at our nation’s communications policyframework.Verizon’s effort over the last year or two to findcommon ground with Google and others on the issuesof net neutrality, behavioral advertising and privacyprotection, and other Internet policies, really broughthome to me the dilemma we face. Too often theseimportant discussions about policy for the Internet
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degenerated into disputes over the statutory authority of the FCC.Then, with the Comcast - Bit Torrent case it becameclear that the debate over jurisdiction wasn’t just anintellectual exercise. The authority of the FCC toregulate broadband providers under the so-called“Information Services” title, or Title I, of theCommunications Act was at best murky.One idea recently floated to solidify the FCC’s jurisdiction was to place broadband under the old rulesthat applied to telephone networks under Title II. To us,that clearly was outside the scope of the statute. It alsohighlighted the danger of attempting to apply statutoryprovisions intended for the telephone industry of the1900s to the communications and Internet world of the21
st
Century.In confronting this hard question about jurisdictional authority, we also faced this policyquestion: if Title I and Title II don’t apply to the Internet
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