this week issued a strong challenge to the U.S. Congress to update the nation's antiquated and anti-competitive telecom rules (Verizon's words, not ours), saying that Congress must act now to address telecommunications policies that are broken.
"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," said Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president of public affairs, policy and communications, in discussing the Federal Communications Commission's outdated policies. Tauke pointed out that on the issue of net neutrality, the FCC's focus was limited to how Internet service providers might degrade or block Internet traffic, and not on other sectors of the Internet marketplace where similar consumer harm could take place.
"A key reason why the FCC doesn't consider 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 said. "Given the outdated statute, that's somewhat understandable. But from a reasonable person's perspective, that approach makes no sense. That is why we need Congress to update the law."
Tauke identified four components Congress should consider when writing up a new policy, including:
- The policy should be a federal framework
- The framework should not involve anticipatory rule making, but include principles that allow for case-by-case adjudication
- The test for government in the marketplace should be to prevent either harm to consumers or anti-competitive activity
- A single federal agency should be given clear jurisdiction
Doing so, Tauke said, would ultimately lead to a new statute that's in sync with today's communications technology and market place.