Here’s something you don’t see every day: Verizon just put out a press release titled “Congress Needs to Update the Nation’s Antiquated and Anti-Competitive Telecom Rules.” Yeah, no tip-toeing around here — Verizon public policy VP Tom Tauke straight-up says that the government should completely rewrite the Telecommunications Act, and give a single federal agency “clear jurisdiction” to enforce the law on a case-by-case basis. That’s a direct shot at the FCC, which lost the Comcast BitTorrent case when the court ruled it didn’t have the power to enforce net neutrality, and then provoked the ire of both industry and Congress alike when it tried to reclassify internet communications in a way that gave it the power it needed. That’s also way beyond the joint Google / Verizon net neutrality proposal from August — Verizon’s gone from suggesting that the FCC make some policy tweaks to demanding that Congress start over with the law that governs the FCC itself, which is something like the difference between a screwdriver and a sledgehammer.

Now, Congress actually started to consider a revamp of telecom law in May after the FCC’s net neutrality plan backfired, and while we haven’t heard much about it, we’re certain Verizon’s emphatic support (and lobbying dollars) are sure to inject some momentum into the process. Truth be told, we’d actually welcome a wholesale rewrite of the current Telecom Act, which was last seriously revised in 1996 and in large part dates back to 1934. But why listen to us when we’ve got a pithy quote from Verizon? “The grinding you hear are the gears churning as policymakers try to fit fast-changing technologies and competitive markets into regulatory boxes built for analog technologies and monopoly markets.” Yeah, this one’s going to get good. Full PR after the break.

P.S.- Still unclear on what net neutrality is and why it’s important? Check out our Engadget Show interview with Columbia professor Tim Wu and get up to speed.

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Verizon proposes wholesale rewrite of US telecom law originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 22 Nov 2010 20:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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