The chairman and chief executive of Verizon has claimed that the US leads the world in the expansion of the internet across wired and wireless connections.
Ivan Seidenberg said during an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington that Verizon had "put more fibre in from Boston to Washington than all the western European countries combined".
Americans use their phones four times as much as Europeans, Seidenberg claimed, and are higher owners per capita of smartphones. Japan may have faster wired speeds, he said, but the US leads in the "higher utilisation of people using the internet".
Seidenberg pointed to mobile phone penetration rates in Europe of over 100 per cent, which he suggested is because roaming rates are so high.
However, an employee of Spanish telco Telefónica informed Seidenberg during the Q&A session that he had two mobile phones because he needed one for Europe and the other for America.
Seidenberg went on to argue that this US internet growth rendered the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) National Broadband Plan irrelevant, and brought a copy on stage to illustrate his case.
"We have to be careful that well-intentioned, high-level policy issues don't turn into burdensome rules and regulations that will just stifle growth and innovation. This is a simple issue for me," he said.
Seidenberg also said that the technology sector and the FCC had become less dogmatic on the concept of net neutrality, and that there is room for debate.
"I believe that the players in the industry, like Google, Microsoft, AT& T and us and the rest of the industry, are creating a better dialogue. So the FCC is looking at more reasonable positions than these polar positions," he said.
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