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Video: Verizon CEO says net neutrality is anti competitive

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 12 Apr 2010 11:58 User comments (5)

Video: Verizon CEO says net neutrality is anti competitive In remarks at a Q&A session for the Council on Foreign Relations, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg characterized the entire net neutrality debate as a false dilemma invented by software companies to protect them from competition.
He said, "I think people who... fashioned this Net neutrality argument did it for competitive reasons."

Seidenberg continued, "their view was anything that Verizon, or AT&T, or any of the carriers did was an encroachment on the software business. So the best thing is to come up with a strategy that defines "network" and segments it away from software, and therefore you create a whole argument around Net neutrality."

Net neutrality has become a major issue for broadband internet providers who want a free hand to restrict traffic for third party applications, but often offer competing services of their own.

Last week an FCC ruling against Comcast for their traffic management practices was overturned on appeal. This has lead to speculation internet service could be reclassified as a common carrier service to allow more FCC regulation.

Their lack of regulatory authority is due to the current classification of internet connections and "information services."

In reality net neutrality is mostly about the telecom and cable companies who control most broadband internet markets and their lack of competition. Having just two, or sometimes even one, broadband provider available to most consumers gives those companies a significant competitive advantage in delivering services.

With little choice of which pipe they get data through, consumers could be denied their choice of services by a provider looking to increase profits from their own competing offering.

When asked about how Verizon plans to monetize the "explosion of data" from mobile internet users, he talked about finding the heaviest users and charging them more.

He said, "those are the people we will throttle and we will find them and we will charge them something else." He added, ""we don't want to throttle demand. We don't want to do that."

If, as he seems to suggest at another point in the session, mobile internet has a significant role to play as a primary internet connection for much of the world, it doesn't make much sense to base your business on a model discarded by dialup providers more than a decade ago due to customer demand.

He ignored repeated attempts to clarify if the heavy users he was referring to are using the network for video. Targeting video traffic is a particularly touchy subject among wireless carriers like Verizon who are selling their own mobile video services.

We've already seen AT&T's willingness to restrict Slingbox traffic on their mobile network while simultaneously selling mobile TV across the same connection.

It wasn't Sling who didn't want competition. It was AT&T.

If innovation and growth are key to improving broadband internet in the US competition is perhaps the best tool for the job. Competition would logically result in improved services at lower prices and ultimately benefit both providers and consumers by expanding the market.

It also makes little sense to have significant additional charges for each device you want to connect to the internet. It's also another strategy that has been tried before, in the early days of consumer broadband, and rejected by customers.

At first glance $15 for 250MB of data for a device like an iPad might not seem too bad. But that's on top of whatever you might already be paying to connect your smartphone and possibly a computer. Which is all in addition to whatever you're paying for internet access at home.

If more devices are going to be mobile internet enabled, providers like Verizon are going to have to come up with more reasonable pricing and plan on significantly more traffic.

It would be in the best interest of Verizon and the US broadband market as a whole, for them to concentrate on improving their mobile network and streamlining service offerings to ultimately expand the market and provide service to more customers.

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5 user comments

112.4.2010 14:04

If content owners (software or film industry) owned their own infrastructure/hardware for the distribution of their own content, then they could limit the distribution of their goods however the hell they see fit. However, as long as third parties, (telecommunications companies, Verizon, AT&T etc......) are the ones distributing the content, their "tubes" should not be tied (excuse the double pun) artificially, by lobbyists, congress, or political jokey-ing by the content creators. Let the damn telcos run their business how they see fit, and if it turns out that they are the ones that are limiting bandwidth etc., then the market will turn to alternative carriers, who actually strive to give the people what they want. (Incidentally, neither piracy, or patent infringement need enter this discussion, because that is not the issue here.)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Apr 2010 @ 14:06

212.4.2010 20:11

This guy is just plain stupid.
Refer to the following (relevant) Arstechnica news post.
Verizon CEO claims US is #1 in broadband.
Take note of how absurd all of his comments are.

This ones especially puzzling.. (I mean seriously, READ it)

Verizon has put more fiber in from Boston to Washington than all the Western European countries combined.

Gee, that's probably because Western European countries haven't put ANY fiber in from Boston to Washington?
According to the commenters who live around Boston and Washington, fiber isn't available. Not to ANYONE. One of the commenters made a joke about how the only fiber in Boston "is in the old people isle" at the local convenience store / pharmacy.

If you read the full interview (ars linked to it), and/or read the comments at ars, you can tell this guy is just full of shit.

313.4.2010 1:49

Nonsense private companies owning the land lines is far more anti competitive than net neutrality will ever be!

413.4.2010 20:09

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Nonsense private companies owning the land lines is far more anti competitive than net neutrality will ever be!
exactly this guy sounds like one of those 1974 computer manufactures you know the one's where IBM was only made for IBM products. Sounds like the only thing mr verizon wants is a world full of AOL like providers.

516.4.2010 1:54

I can't believe it. $ 15/= per month for 250 mb data! Here in India where everything is expensive - all the hardware being imported and taxed + high bank interest rates we have it really good.

I can get a wireless USB dongle with 3.2 mbps connectivity with 2 gb data limit for just around the same amount. To top it all I can use it anywhere in the country without any additional roaming charges. And this from more than 3 ISPs.

I DO NOT need to subscibe to any other service from the provider!

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