Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Network Equipment Suppliers Urge Congress to Update Telecom Act for IP Services

Senior executives from Alcatel, Lucent, Motorola, Siemens and QUALCOMM testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on "How IP-Enabled Services are Changing the Face of Communications." A common theme of the testimony was that Congress should legislate a "light regulatory touch" when addressing IP-enabled services. The witnesses addressed the digital television (DTV) transition and advocated a "hard deadline" for the transition in order to reclaim the analog broadcast spectrum. They urged Congress to make this spectrum available as soon as possible to stimulate the economy.

Patricia Russo, Chairman and CEO of Lucent Technologies said "we believe it is critical for Congress to adopt a federal policy framework that recognizes the changes in technology and the market, and is designed to promote and enable the converged lifestyle services people are demanding. To do so, we need to minimize -- and in certain cases eliminate -- economic and entry regulation of the communications marketplace, particularly the existing constraints within traditional legal and regulatory boundaries that impede the full development of these services.... I believe that minimal regulation is better and equal treatment should be considered. Fundamentally, this needs to happen at the federal level. Today's communications are all about convergence -- converging networks, converging technologies, converging applications and converging devices."

Russo also urged Congress to consider new means to promote and facilitate the deployment of broadband access platforms, both fixed and wireless. She also urged Congress to provide favorable tax treatment for R&D expenses."

Ed Zander, Chairman and CEO of Motorola, urged legislators to federalize the regulation of IP-enabled services. "It has been nearly a decade since the last significant overhaul of the Telecom Act, and while those changes may have worked in the analog world, it is now time to reform the law to address the challenges of the Internet Age. The law needs to clear the way for innovation..."

Also testifying before the panel were Mike Quigley, CEO, Alcatel North America; Dr. Irwin Jacobs, chairman and CEO, QUALCOMM; and Andy Mattes, president and CEO of Siemens Communications Inc.

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