» Strigl: U.S. telecom industry unfairly maligned
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Strigl: U.S. telecom industry unfairly maligned
By Carol Wilson

Jun 18, 2008 12:40 PM

LAS VEGAS--Verizon President and COO Denny Strigl took on the critics of the U.S. telecom industry Wednesday in his NXTcomm08 keynote speech, saying the U.S. leads the world in broadband and mobile “in the ways that count.”

To underscore that statement, Strigl announced Verizon’s plans to make its 50 Megabit per second FiOS Internet service available across its FiOS footprint of 12 million homes beginning next week.

While critics complain that the U.S. lags the world in broadband penetration, this country has “more broadband connections than anyone else with 100 million,” Strigl said. “There is broadband service in every ZIP code, to every school and library and to businesses. Half of American households have broadband connections compared with one-third in Europe. Three-quarters of U.S. households have at least two providers to choose from, and some have as many as six or seven” when wireless and satellite options are factored in.

The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. Internet infrastructure as one of the world’s best, Strigl said, and Verizon’s FiOS network alone takes fiber past more homes than all European carriers combined. U.S. wireless customers “use more minutes, pay lower prices and have greater choices” than consumers in other countries, Strigl said. He took on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study, which ranks the U.S. 13th in global broadband penetration, saying that study doesn’t count broadband wireless service, which is growing three times faster in the U.S. than elsewhere, and ignores differences in geography.

“Massachusetts and New Jersey have similar population density to Korea and Japan, and similar broadband penetration,” Strigl said.

“Unlike other countries, what we have accomplished has come not through [government] policy but through private investment,” Strigl said. “And the benefits of that investment ripple through the economy, creating millions of high-tech jobs and billions in economic value.”

Strigl also highlighted Verizon’s announcement this week of a new Flex Bundle which combines broadband service with wireless subscription for the growing base of customers who don’t want a wireless phone, and the Verizon Business announcement of expanded global reach for its Unified Communications services. He also called out Verizon’s efforts to enable peer-to-peer traffic to be more efficiently handled in the network, to the benefit of P2P users but also other consumers.

The Verizon executive’s catch-phrase for his speech was “more,” and he concluded by challenging the telecom industry to continue to deliver more bandwidth to customers, promising Verizon will do just that, but combine it with more safety and security, and more service.

“The history of our industry is built with great inventions, but creating a great invention is one thing, putting innovation to work for people is another,” and that is what the U.S. telecom industry must continue to do, Strigl said.

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