Verizon Calls for Updates to the 1996 Telecommunications Act

When Congress last overhauled U.S. telecom rules -- the 1996 Telecommunications Act -- many of today's technologies were closer to science fiction than fact. Speaking at the Media Institute, Craig Silliman, Verizon's senior vice president of public policy and government relations, called for a proactive, flexible policy approach to replace outdated regulations.

"The act could not have anticipated the policy challenges that we would face 20 years later, particularly given the extraordinary rate of innovation," Silliman said. "It has been only six years since the first smartphone was released, so 20 years is an eternity. What guidance does the 1996 act provide in a world where everyone is carrying a broadband cloud-access device with them? Where video content can be accessed anytime, from anywhere? Where these technologies are beginning to be applied to broader societal challenges like healthcare, energy management, education and more? Not much. Nor should we expect it to."

"By eliminating antiquated rules, focusing on meeting consumer needs, and encouraging investment and innovation, we will create the right environment for delivering the amazing promise of broadband and wireless technologies," he said. "And in place of optimistic uncertainty, such policies will create a spirit of innovation and a sense of limitless opportunities."