Verizon: Telecom Regulation Needs A Makeover

Verizon senior vice president Kathryn Brown decries the state of the state of telecom regulation, calling for a "new policy framework" instead of tweaks to the existing regulatory system.

March 31, 2004

2 Min Read
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Now a senior vice president at Verizon in charge of public policy and government relations, Kathryn Brown is well versed in the ways of telecom regulation, having previously served as the FCC's Chief of Staff and in other governmental bodies associated with the communications industry.

In a panel discussion at the Spring VON show Monday, Brown decried the state of the state of telecom regulation, calling for a "new policy framework" instead of tweaks to the existing regulatory system.

"It's clear with the changes in technology, the old [regulatory] distinctions do not apply," Brown told the panel audience. "The current regulatory framework cannot keep up."

Verizon, Brown said, is "embracing the change" to IP-based networks, and is actively participating in industry-wide talks to see if telecom vendors can work out some issues amongst themselves, instead of waiting for a governmental edict that may or may not ever come.

"We are part of an enormous attempt to bring everyone together," Brown said. "But it does depend on the cooperation of all the players" to make such a plan work. Networking Pipeline caught up with Brown after her talk, for a few follow-on questions: Networking Pipeline: Since you're familiar with the way Washington works, how long are we going to have to wait to see any regulatory reforms? Three years? Five years?

Kathryn Brown: We don't have five years. There are going to be enormous changes to the technology between now and 2005, or 2006. There are going to be new applications invented that we don't even know about yet. When they appear, the burden of the old legacy regulations will become even more apparent.

Networking Pipeline: What types of applications are you talking about?

Brown: VoIP is just one application in this same layer -- eventually there will be more Internet radio, and video. When I was with the FCC, we talked about taking broadband out of the Title II-Title III mileau, but it never happened. We need a much more rational approach, rather than trying to stick these things into existing silos.

Networking Pipeline: Do you think that the industry players will be able to reach their own consensus on matters like intercarrier compensation in the VoIP world and other IP communications?Brown: I am encouraged by what's been happening. There are certainly discussions already progressing. We're sitting together, figuring things out. We just have to figure out ways to compensate each other.

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