Verizon's Seidenberg Chats With the Post
Verizon Communications' biggest fear from Washington regulators:New rules on net neutrality that would prevent the company from charging more for consuming more data and providing extra services on their network.
Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's chief executive, talked about the prospect of such rules yesterday in a broad-ranging conversation with reporters and the editorial board of The Washington Post. He also said exclusive phone contracts can spur innovation and that the firm's biggest high-tech foe these days is Google.
Google has pushed for net neutrality regulation, which would prevent network operators like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile from controlling the flow of Internet traffic on their network. Google and some public interest groups argue that consumers should have unfettered access to the Web traffic and not be treated differently by how much data they consume. For Google, greater and free flow of Internet traffic only helps their business, which dominates the online search market.
Verizon opposes such regulation, saying not all data are equal and that consumers who consume more bandwidth through downloads of big video files, for example, shouldn't be charged the same as lighter Internet users. It also wants to reserve the option of providing premium services like a protected network for banks and their consumers, for example.
Seidenberg said Google "wants for us not to be able to differentiate but set a standard that would shift all costs of building a network to us and so that we are treated as the lowest denominator common carrier.
"So if you listen to the west coast crowd, they are trying to effectively quarantine what our permissible activities are," he said.
President Obama said during his election campaign that net neutrality would be a priority for his technology agenda. It's unclear, however, if the Federal Communications Commission would adopt new policies or maintain current principles that forbid discrimination of traffic by network operators.
Seidenberg wouldn't say whether Verizon is in negotiation with Apple for an iPhone to work on the company's broadband wireless network scheduled to launch at the middle of next year. He said Apple never considered a partnership with Verizon because it only wanted to create a chip for its phone that operated on the GSM wireless technology. Verizon operates on a different platform called CDMA.
But for the next generation network, he said, "Our view is that they would take another look at it."
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