Ivan Seidenberg Urges D.C. & Wall Street to "Think Differently"
WASHINGTON, D.C. -With the technology sector in the doldrums and many investors refusing to bet on the industry, the CEO of one of the world’s largest and most successful telecommunications companies says the time has come for policymakers to “think differently…both in Washington and on Wall Street in order to put our industry back on a sound economic footing.” He believes actions can be taken – particularly at the FCC – to enable the sector and consumers who rely on it to enjoy a “fresh start”.
Speaking at a lunch sponsored by The Progress & Freedom Foundation, Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, said his company expects to prosper. But he maintained the industry as a whole could lift the technology sector out of the doldrums and improve general economic prospects, if “real competition” were allowed to flourish. He said the confluence of several factors – including a growing realization that regulations helped tank telecom, talk of reform by FCC Chairman Michael Powell and a converging marketplace – make this year ripe for action.
“The decisions we make this year about telecom policies will influence the flow of billions of dollars worth of capital, the security of thousands of jobs, the speed of the economic recovery and the legacy of America’s technological leadership,” Seidenberg said in written remarks. “Opportunity doesn’t knock very often in the world of telecom deregulation – maybe once or twice in a decade – but it’s knocking now. It is time to see if the Bush Administration, Chairman Powell and the FCC truly believe in the discipline of the free market or the heavy hand of regulation. The sooner these issues are resolved, the sooner the capital markets will begin to have confidence in the stability of the investment climate – a necessary pre-condition for restoring value to telecom.”
Among Seidenberg’s recommendations: Enacting Powell’s proposal to allow wireless companies to opt-out of spectrum bids made two years ago, prohibiting “companies with discredited business models” from using the bankruptcy process to “fuel an irrational price spiral” and cause additional capital flight, using the FCC's Triennial Review “to set the industry back on track to a more rational economic structure,” applying a “sunset” to network sharing requirements to encourage network construction and enacting a national broadband policy.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.