Thursday, December 11, 2014

Verizon exec: We'll continue to invest in FiOS and mobile wireless under Title II common carrier regulation

Verizon: Actually, strong net neutrality rules won’t affect our network investment - The Washington Post: Francis J. Shammo - EVP and CFO I mean to be real clear, I mean this does not influence the way we invest. I mean we're going to continue to invest in our networks and our platforms, both in Wireless and Wireline FiOS and where we need to. So nothing will influence that. I mean if you think about it, look, I mean we were born out of a highly regulated company, so we know how this operates. But related to this discussion around Net Neutrality, the FCC has the right to regulate under 765, they do not need to go to Title II, and why would you go to a 1930 piece of literature to try to regulate something that is a 21st-century technology.

This is newsworthly insofar as it signals that Verizon intends to end its 3-year-old moratorium on new fiber to the premise infrastructure CAPEX, even if the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) subjects Internet service providers to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act.

A common carrier mandate that providers serve all customers without discrimination would bar Verizon and other Internet service providers from their current practice of redlining neighborhoods and streets within their service territories. Under Title II, they'd have to invest in upgrading and building out their infrastructures to serve these areas, but on a faster schedule than they would like. That's why Verizon and other legacy incumbents plan to attempt to delay the mandate by taking the FCC to court if it adopts a Title II common carrier regulatory regime.

As to Shammo's reference to the 1930s when the Communications Act was first enacted, the law's common carrier requirements brought all Americans telephone service in the 20th century. There's nothing outdated about the principle of universal telecommunications service. It only needs updating to encompass IP-enabled telecommunications services in the 21st century.

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