Verizon Lobbying GOP for Telecom Overhaul

Verizon Lobbying GOP for Telecom Overhaul National Journal By David Hatch

LAS VEGAS -- Tom Tauke, Verizon's top lobbyist, told National Journal Thursday that the telecommunications giant is urging the new Congress not to abandon earlier Democratic plans to update the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a law widely viewed as outdated for today's broadband-driven universe. "We're encouraging Republicans on the House side to look at overhauling the Communications Act," Tauke affirmed during an interview in a private lounge reserved for exhibitors at the Consumer Electronics Show. "There's a whole array of issues that arise . . . because of the changes in technology," he said yet "there is no policy in place for the Internet broadband infrastructure."

He wants a rewrite to tackle a range of topics, from regulation of Web-based "smart grids" designed to reduce power consumption to privacy protections for digital data stored in the "cloud" of the Internet. He also sees a need for Congress to weigh in on bread and butter telecom matters, including the ongoing debate over restructuring the $7. 3 billion universal service phone subsidy fund for the broadband era. Furthermore, he said lawmakers should strengthen intellectual property protections for high-tech companies and provide more guidance on Internet tax issues.

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