Verizon's Seidenberg blasts net neutrality as debate continues

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Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg described proposed net neutrality regulations as "extremely troubling." The high-profile comments are the latest in an increasingly heated debate ahead of an FCC vote on net neutrality scheduled for tomorrow.

Seidenberg, speaking at the Supercomm trade show in Chicago, said that new regulations should be applied to telecom companies and Internet firms like Google equally, or else wireless and wireline operators would face unpalatable risks.

"If we can't earn a return on the investment we make in broadband, our progress will be delayed," he said. Seidenberg also said that leaving Internet companies out while regulating telecom companies amounted to "analog ideas in a digital age."

Meanwhile, the lobbying battle continued to rage. Michael Powell, a former chairman of the FCC, said that many companies see the writing on the wall, and know that stricter net neutrality regulations are coming. "They fear it is an effort to commoditize their businesses and that is terrifying," he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Separately, a group of 30 venture capitalists added their own views on the matter via a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowksi (himself a former venture capitalist) in support of the proposed net neutrality rules.

"Clear rules to protect and promote innovation at the edges of the Internet will reinforce the core principles that led to its extraordinary social and economic benefits," they wrote. "Open markets for Internet content will drive investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. For these reasons, net neutrality policy is pro-investment, pro-competition, and pro-consumer. 

For more:
- see this release
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Washington Post article

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