Verizon Chief Calls FCC Web Proposal `Overbearing'
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has proposed “overbearing” rules for phone and cable companies that could dampen investment, said Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, reacting to a court defeat, has proposed using rules written for telephone service to regulate providers of high-speed Internet access, including Verizon, AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp.
The FCC is moving toward “an unimaginative and overbearing set of rules,” Seidenberg said today in remarks to the Economic Club of Washington. The FCC’s current course “will cause uncertainty in the marketplace, create disincentives for investment” and make the U.S. telecommunications industry less competitive, he said.
Technology companies led by Google Inc. have supported Genachowski’s proposals. Verizon, AT&T and the Washington-based National Cable & Telecommunications Association, a trade group with members led by Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc., oppose them and have said they want Congress to step in.
Last month, 74 House Democrats wrote to Genachowski and said they have “serious concerns” with his proposal, and 171 House Republicans in a letter said applying telephone rules could bring “severe” consequences, including less investment.
The FCC is holding talks with companies, seeking a consensus that might lead to legislation, Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus said in an interview yesterday. He didn’t identify participants.
A U.S. court in April said the FCC lacked authority over companies that provide Internet access, and the agency last week asked for comments on how it may proceed to impose regulations. It would need such power to adopt net-neutrality rules, which forbid companies from interfering with subscribers’ Web traffic, and to use subsidies for more home Internet connections.
At an FCC meeting in Washington last week, Genachowski called his proposal “a middle ground” intended “to restore the status quo light-touch framework” from before the court decision in a case brought by Comcast.
Seidenberg, who is also the chairman of the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executives, criticized the government for policies that hurt companies’ ability to innovate and invest.
“We have become somewhat troubled by a growing disconnect between Washington and the business community,” Seidenberg said. “We see a host of laws, regulations and other policies being enacted that impose a government prescription on how individual industries ought to be structured.”
Seidenberg called for lower taxes, more exports, infrastructure investment, and more education in science, technology, engineering and math.
Bloomberg moderates all comments. Comments that are abusive or off-topic will not be posted to the site. Excessively long comments may be moderated as well. Bloomberg cannot facilitate requests to remove comments or explain individual moderation decisions.