Verizon's Tom Tauke on the Future of Internet Policy

At NDN this morning, Verizon Executive Vice President Tom Tauke delivered a pretty big speech on how the internet should be governed in the years ahead.  The speech has gotten some coverage in the Post, the Hill, in some trade publications, and by advocates on the various sides of the issues he addressed.

To very quickly summarize the talk, Tauke argued that the internet has thrived as a competitive marketplace in the past few decades, but that the governance system regulating the net is unclear and based on older, different technologies. A failure to clarify the regulatory system may stifle continued investment and innovation. Tauke called on Congress to clarify which agency has the authority to regulate the internet, but did not specify which agency it should be-- whether the FCC, the FTC, or another.

He proposed building a fresh architecture for governance of the net, and offered four principles to guide the construction of that architecture: First, consumers should be free and empowered to use any legal device to access any legal content.  Second, consumers must feel safe under uniform and consistent security laws. Third, consumer access and adoption should be a priority for the government.  Fourth, the government's role should be to protect consumers and ensure a smoothly functioning marketplace.

Most analysts agree that the 1996 Telecom act needs to be revised, and a clearer system for regulating the net needs to be adopted. Not everyone agrees with Tauke's ideas, but his recommendations are a serious contribution to a serious debate over how to build the new architecture of internet governance, and well worth everyone's consideration.  The full text of his speech can be found here, and you can watch video of the address below.