In reaction to the Federal Communications Commission's ruling Thursday giving the states power over local telephone competition rules, Tom Tauke, senior vice president of public policy and external affairs at Verizon, said the FCC had made a grave mistake.
"The [FCC] had a great opportunity today and blew it," Tauke said Friday in a statement. "Rather than bringing stability, certainty and clarity to the regulatory structure for the industry, the commission left a void and handed off decision-making to the states."
Tauke predicted lawsuits would follow the ruling.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell also said turning over power to the states would result in regulatory chaos and legal action. "These decisions will be litigated through 51 different federal district courts," Powell said in a statement. "These 51 cases will likely be decided in multiple ways, some upholding the state, some overturning the state and little chance of regulatory and legal harmony among them at the end of the day."
Tauke also criticized the FCC ruling that allows competitors to gain access to regional Bell operating companies' (RBOCs) existing networks at a discount, but not receive discounted access to RBOCs new high-speed fiber-optic networks.
He described this as "yet another sad chapter in the FCC's attempt to thwart the intent of the [network unbundling] statute and establish a flawed model for competition in the telephony industry."
Tauke said the ruling would hurt competition, consumer and future investments, adding that Verizon plans to appeal portions of the ruling.