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Verizon CEO joins executives opposed to net neutrality

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg on Wednesday morning warned against net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission, one day ahead of a vote to strengthen policies for how companies like his can treat access to content on the Web.

He said the key to continued growth of the Web is private investment by companies like his, which has spent $80 billion over the past five years on broadband Internet networks for homes, businesses and cellphone users. New rules impact future development of the Web, he cautioned, saying: "While this future is imminent, it is not inevitable, and the decisions we make today -- as an industry and as a country -- will determine whether the benefits of these transformational networks will be felt sooner or much, much later."

He joins Comcast CEO Brian Roberts who spoke out against a proposal for new rules on the plate tomorrow at the FCC.

Here is an excerpt from Verizon's press release on Seidenberg's speech at the Supercomm 2009 conference in Chicago:

One day before the Federal Communications Commission plans to release its order on network neutrality, the Verizon executive took issue with "proponents of net neutrality [who suggest] that network providers like Verizon and applications providers like Google, Amazon and others occupy fundamentally different parts of the Internet ecosystem -- a binary world of 'dumb pipes' on the one hand and 'smart applications' on the other." "This is a mistake, pure and simple: an analog idea in a digital universe," he said. "It fundamentally misreads how innovation happens in a dynamic and collaborative industry. "Our industry has shown that we can work with the government as well as our partners and competitors to achieve mutually desirable goals of more competition, consumer choice and broadband expansion. But we can't achieve these ends if we interrupt the flow of private capital and delay the cascading productivity impacts of a more networked world. We can't create smart economy by dumbing down our critical infrastructure," Seidenberg said. He warned against "pitting network providers and applications developers against each other in a zero-sum game, when the real promise of broadband is an expanding pie for everybody." "Rather than impose rigid rules on a rapidly changing industry, the FCC should focus on creating the conditions for growth," he said. "And we need to protect consumers by insisting on transparency in the provision of products and services by all Internet providers, including applications developers."

Here's Seidenberg in an interview with The Post earlier this year.

His views contrast with those of investors of high-tech Web companies from Silicon Valley, who argued in a letter to the FCC on Wednesday morning without rules applications that sit on top of Internet networks would be hampered.

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 21, 2009; 10:39 AM ET
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Next: 10 Senators back FCC's push for net neutrality


These scare tactics by the phone and cable companies about investment are completely unfounded. A new report out today showed that AT&T invested more than any other company in America while they were forced by the FCC to abide by network neutrality.

This is really about these giants protecting their monopolistic businesses, so they can continue to gouge consumers on voice, data and texting services.

Since when has the phone company done something good for the consumer?

-- Ama Bala

Posted by: amabala | October 21, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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