Coalition Says Verizon is Asking Congress to ‘Watch What We Say, Not What We Do”
Managing Editor, Clec-Planet
February 4, 2002 — On Tuesday, January 29, Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, told a gathering at Comnet that his company’s reduction in capital expenditures had not hampered its broadband roll-out. As reported by Comm Daily, Seidenberg said, “(A)ll the cuts have been driven by (lack of) customer demand.”
According to the Voices for Choices coalition, Seidenberg’s statement comes just three weeks after BellSouth’s announcement that it nearly tripled its DSL customer base and boasted “a growth rate … the highest of any DSL or cable provider in the country.”
“For the second time in less than a month, a Bell company has — wittingly or not — completely undercut the whole rationale for the very Tauzin-Dingell bill that they’ve long championed,” said Steve Ricchetti, co-chairman of Voices for Choices. “The Bells have blitzed Congress for years, arguing that the important consumer protections in current law have devastated their ability to deploy broadband. But BellSouth pulled the rug out from under that argument by bragging to Wall Street about its ability to deploy faster than competition.
“Now, the head of Verizon explicitly admits that the real issue hampering broadband growth is consumer demand — not federal law, said Ricchetti. “Lawmakers should recognize this blatant double-talk for what it is: The Bell companies are engaged in a classic case of telling Congress, ‘watch what we say, not what we do.'”
Voices for Choices is a coalition of associations and companies that support fair competition in local telephone service and high-speed Internet access. Members include: The Association for Telecommunications Services (ALTS), CompTel, Citizens Against Government Waste, Small Business Survival Committee, the U.S. Internet Service Provider Association, Liberty Mutual, Worldcom, Sprint and AT&T.