Speaking before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Monday, Verizon co-CEO Ivan Seidenberg advocated the passage of a controversial piece of legislation touching on broadband competition and deployment, and a tax incentive package to help New York City recover from the economic effects of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Seidenberg expressed optimism that the House of Representatives will vote within two weeks on the hotly-debated Tauzin-Dingell broadband bill. That legislation would allow the regional Bells like Verizon to offer long-distance broadband access services without first demonstrating that their local markets are open to competition. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated that before the incumbent local telephone companies could get into the long-distance market, they must first meet a list of competitive requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission.
Critics have charged that passage of the legislation would sound the death knell for already struggling competitive local exchange carriers. The Bells have argued that lifting regulatory burdens on broadband deployment would have a salutary effect on the market for services, and the economy generally.
“Telecom spending on broadband will have huge multiplier effects on the computer industry, software, media and equipment. We need to get this capability in consumers hands. Its pretty clear how to do that — promote new investment by taking down the do not enter signs that impede the flow of capital,” said Seideberg.
Seidenberg said Verizon also supports legislation in the Houses version of the economic stimulus package that would give a 30 percent “bonus depreciation” for companies making new equipment purchases over the next three years. He also urged Congress to support a plan to create a “Liberty Zone” that would provide tax breaks for businesses that reinvest in lower Manhattan, the site of the former World Trade Center.