Verizon Takes Aim at Taxes

The industry must show leadership, policy chief Tom Tauke says.
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(VZ) - Get Report

struck a leadership pose Tuesday, calling on rivals "to come together in addressing emerging broadband concerns that customers really care about."

The New York telco's policy chief, Tom Tauke, told execs at a conference in Aspen, Colo., that communications industry executives must focus on personal security and privacy, intellectual property protection and tax issues.

"Broadband is a technology that connects people, but the debates we've had over the past year have seen the broadband industry become more fragmented," Tauke said in a Verizon press release. "We should be committed to working together to put policies in place that meet the needs of customers, the marketplace and the networks we are all invested in for the future."

Tauke's comments come just days after Verizon told users of its digital subscriber-line broadband service that it would slap a new fee on their accounts as a government-mandated surcharge expires.

Verizon said privacy issues, raised most glaringly by AOL's recent lapse regarding search queries made by 650,000 users, require "privacy laws, ongoing consumer education and more aggressive industry efforts."

Verizon also said taxes are killing telecom. "Today in some states, taxes on cell phones exceed that of liquor and tobacco," the exec said. "That's just not right."