TECH
11/23/2010 01:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Verizon Calls For Rewrite Of 'Broken' Telecom Rules

Verizon has not been shy about entering the policy debate. Earlier this year, Verizon, together with Google, outlined an Internet policy proposal that suggested one way of enforcing net neutrality laws.

Now, Verizon has released a statement calling for Congress to rewrite the country's "broken" telecom rules.

There's no beating around the bush: the press release is titled "Congress Needs to Update the Nation's Antiquated and Anti-Competitive Telecom Rules."

Telecommunications policies are "broken," Verizon states. More specifically, Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communications, wants Congress to revamp the FCC's authority.

He did not mince words in explaining his gripe. "The grinding you hear are the gears churning as policymakers try to fit fast-changing technologies and competitive markets into regulatory boxes built for analog technologies and monopoly markets," Tauke said.

He took issue with the FCC's approach to net neutrality, arguing that the agency was too focused on addressing Internet service providers' handling of web traffic, while overlooking "the activities of those who control operating systems or applications is that the FCC looks at the world from the standpoint of its jurisdiction rather than from the perspective of the consumer."

Tauke's four proposals are the following:

The policy should be a federal framework. Because of the innovative nature of the marketplace, the framework should not involve anticipatory rulemaking, but rather principles that allow for case-by-case adjudication. The test for government intervention in the marketplace should be to prevent either harm to consumers or anti-competitive activity. And a single federal agency should be given clear jurisdiction. As part of any regulatory overhaul, Tauke said, safeguards surrounding cyber security and privacy need to be addressed. He also called for a revamping of the subsidy programs for universal access to communications.

Democratic lawmakers suggested earlier this year that they were considering making changes to the country's communications law. The FCC has also made moves to alter its jurisdiction. After a court ruled in favor of Comcast and found the FCC lacked the authority to enforce net neutrality, the FCC tried a "third way" that would reclassify broadband services.

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