- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stamping out service

The story “Coming to the small screen” (Sports, Thursday) about expanded choices in the telecommunications industry left out one critical fact: Just as policy-makers are doing everything they can to promote competition, some in the industry are seeking to stamp it out.

As we speak, Verizon is using an arcane legal process to ask the Federal Communications Commission for exemptions from rules that afford residents and small businesses in Virginia competitive options for phone and Internet services. If successful, Verizon would choke off access to parts of its monopoly network on which smaller telecom companies rely to reach their customers.

To win over the FCC, Verizon has shed crocodile tears, painting a picture of future and potential competitive threats from cable companies and even VoIP providers — who have hardly dented Verizon’s 80 percent stranglehold on the small business market. Congress is currently examining this specious reasoning.

When such relief was granted in Omaha, Neb., prices rose and smaller operators shut their doors. Unless the FCC halts Verizon’s push in Virginia, the impact would be just as severe, especially for the low-income, elderly and rural communities that rely on independent companies for service, and the small businesses that will have no one but Verizon to turn to for access to the information and communications superhighway.



Virginia Citizens

Consumer Council


Run, George

Former Sen. George Allen is a public servant at heart and, by all means, he should step on the accelerator, proceed through the green light and go for a run for the Virginia governorship (“Allen open to run for governor,” Metro, Friday). Not only is he an intelligent man with a keen wit, but he deeply cares about people, issues and concerns that face the state of Virginia. Though critics relish rehashing his “macaca” comment, which had no malicious intent, Mr. Allen is a man of character, integrity and honesty.

A notably favorable characteristic about Mr. Allen is that he is genuine. There is nothing phony about him, and he is a truly likable guy. What impressed me significantly when I met Mr. Allen and chatted with him on two occasions once when I bumped into him at the Hotel Roanoke and the other time at a function in Fairfax County was that he really listens.

Unlike other politicians, who often will be polite and speak with you but not really hear what you are saying while their eyes are darting around the room to see who and what they are missing, Mr. Allen looks at you directly, focuses on what you are saying and cares to hear your message.

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