tv The Communicators CSPAN December 12, 2016 8:00am-8:31am EST
thank you so much. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> host: and craig sillyman iscounsel and executive vice president of the verizon corporation. mr. sillyman, what does that mean? what does that entail? >> guest: i have responsibility for our public policy and security functions. >> host: describe verizon ooze a business -- verizon as a business today. what are some of the entities
that are under the verizon umbrella. >> guest: it's a great question because verizon's changed quite a bit over the last couple years. we have our network business, our wireless business which is nationwide in the u.s., our fios business which is broadband and our enterprise business. but we've also expanded pretty significantly into internet of things and sort of internet video and content business, and so we've acquired aol, of course, announced a plan to acquire yahoo! over the course of the last couple month, we've acquired two companies, connected vehicles which is in the smart cities of business and many more. so you see us increasingly building to out to internet of things and online video. >> host: given the nature of your business, how often does federal policy play a role in business decisions you make? >> guest: policy permeates a lot
of things we do, but what's happened is it's no longer just telecom policy. we have all realm of policy that's going out of washington like some part of our business. does everyone in the company wake up every today thinking about policy? no. they think about how to serve customers, what customers needs and how to do that best. but because of the scope and scan of our business, there are elements of policy that touch almost everything we do. >> host: well, with the new incoming administration, a new federal communications commission, what's one of the issues that you'll be looking at regulatory and legislatively? >> guest: i think a couple of things going on here in the new administration. i think one of the top things we're focused on is infrastructure, particularly fiber build. when you think about the world that we are in today whether it's wireless where increasingly if you go back a couple of years, you have a lot of big cell towers transmitting a couple of miles, increasingly as you just see this incredible
demand for mobile services, we're densifying our network. what that means is we're building the fiber deeper and deeper into the network so that the wireless signals are traveling a shorter distance. 90% of that is actually fiber. and you -- i mentioned the internet of things in smart citieses, you look at what cities are trying to do, you need a massive infrastructure to do all that. so a lot of the issues we're looking at is where is all that fiber going to come from, who's going to build it, making sure it's accessible so we can continue to build these services and pollutions on top of it. enter so you're dealing with state governments, local government, cities. >> guest: that's exactly right. and one of the interesting trends is the increasing importance of municipalities, just working with mayors' offices. a lot of innovative policy making going on in the cities, and they're looking at how do they create an environment that's a great place to live, draws workers in, makes them more efficient?
all -- ultimately, it's built on fiber. >> host: well, let's bring john mckibbon of "the wall street journal" into our discussion. >> hey, craig, how are you? talk more about infrastructure. obviously, congress has been thinking a lot about another infrastructure bill. the the president-elect is thinking about it as well. how could that play into what you see is the future of infrastructure? >> guest: it absolutely could be part of it. obviously, we talk about roads and bridges, and that's an incredibly important part of it. but today with our knowledge-based economy, the services that are being provided, i do think we need to see fiber as one of those fundamental aspects of infrastructure for economic growth. so certainly one of the aspects discussed is the idea that as part of an infrastructure package, you might see subsidization of fiber builds across the country. >> what kind of subsidy are we talking about?
>> guest: obviously, i can't speak for the incoming administration, but i think what you want to look at, obviously, is any place that the market is driving investment, you don't need to subsidize there. but there can be various ways you can do that. basically, look at areas where the market size may not be there to build out fiber, which is expensive. it's a heavy capital investment to encourage whichever players may want to play in that space. >> and what are the kinds of places that we're talking about here? are they mostly rural? are they cities? >> guest: certainly, the economics of fiber get harder and harder as you move to less and less dense areas. so the more dense population base you have, the more the economics for building fiber makes sense. so i think two things. one is that you're probably looking at rural areas where the economics for the build may not make sense. the second thing i think you want to think about is that the combination of fiber and
wireless is pretty powerful, and you may not need to build fiber where you build it all the way down to a premises, but rather build out to nodes and let people build wireless capabilities on the end of those nodes. that may be a cost effective or more efficient way to get fiber out there but not have to build all the way to the last mile. >> what do you think that president-elect trump thinks about the telecommunications business? he's succeeding president obama who's, obviously, very tech-savvy. he professes not to be aztec talf i have -- as tech-savvy, and i think a lot of people perceive he doesn't focus on silicon valley, certainly. what do you think he wants out of the telecommunications industry? >> guest: i'm sorry, i can't speak for president-recollect -- president-elect trump are, but i think the way we all should think about this, as we
mentioned before, we live in a war where the services element of the economy is growing. it's a tremendous opportunity for the country to grow as we move into new sectors, new areas of innovation, research and development. all that's built on top of communication. so in order for us as a country to be leading the world in new r&d, in new innovations, we need to have those underlying communication networks as robust and ubiquitous as possible. so i think all policymakers should be thinking about how do we continue to encourage that investment in the broadband networks so that we reach as many people. it's not a static point. you never reach a point where you're done. you need that continuing investment to keep upgrading. i think it's a fundamental part of all the other economic growth components of a new administration. >> host: now, craig silliman,
you mentioned 90% of so-called wireless traffic done on wired line. is there a disconnect between wireless policy and wired policy, and should they be treated the same? >> guest: increasingly i think we do need to look at the networks coming together, converging, and you need to look at overall communications policy. there are certain areas that are unique to one or the other. so, for example, spectrum is very unique to wireless. but increase increasingly everyone is looking at mobility, right? people are connected with their devices, with their tablets. but that may be in your home, that may be out on the street, and when you're doing that, you're really connecting over wireless technology but very quickly moving into a wired infrastructure. so i think there are aspects of the techs and aspects -- networks and aspects of the industry that still differ a little bit. it's not completely harmonized, and the same policies don't apply completely. one example is you still have
four nationwide wireless carriers and a number of other players coming in, for example, cable players. so there's a lot of competition on the edge there. there are fewer people who are building the core fiber networks or the co-a networks, and i think that will always with the case. it probably won't be economically viable to have four, five, six players overbuilding those wireline networks. it makes a lot more sense to have those shared in some way, wholesaled, etc., has you may have a hot of competition going on on the edge of the wireless networks with all sorts of different wireless technologies. uh-uh be i think -- but i think there may be some differences still there, but a lot of the issues, you think about privacy, you think about cybersecurity, those issues that i think will be big issues for some years to come. >> host: a couple of issues that might be revisited with the incoming trump administration includes net neutrality. >> guest: it may be.
i think it'll be interesting to see what the debate around net neutrality is, because when we talked about this, and we've talked about it for a long time, net neutrality has often been conflated with the whole debate about title ii. and, certainly, i have said, verizon's said for some time, many, many years we support the net neutrality principles. what the fight has been about for many years is about the jurisdictional hook the fcc used to get there. we actually came out some time ago before the court decisions and said the way to fix this is for congress to simply codify the principles into law and move away, put the whole title ii debate behind us. they didn't do that, and i think senators thune and nelson, their staffs did a lot of work to try and get there. but, ultimately, what happened in this whole net neutrality debate was you had some advocates that i think either
moved the goalpost or ultimately revealed what they really wanted which was not net neutrality, but title ii. and so they pushed very hard to not have congress come up with net neutrality rules. i think, frankly, that was disingenuous and in retrospect, a bad political calculation. but i think that net neutrality principles are still important. what we do need to stand back and look and say what is the statutory framework under which the fcc is operating, and they've really been trying to put square pegs into round holes for some time on some of these jurisdictional questions s. and i think the new administration looking at what you really need to protect consumers, what's the right set-up of different agencies, what's their jurisdiction. and from that flows questions like how do you protect net neutrality principles. but i think we can do it in a much more efficient way if we stand back and look and say we're in 2016, soon to be 2017. let's come up with a 21st
century framework, not govern the whole industry under a 1996 law. so that doesn't just answer the question of what happens to net neutrality rules, but it does get into a question of what is statutory framework under which all these decisions should be made, and that's incredibly important. >> host: and a communications guy, greg walden, is coming in as the chair of the energy and commerce committee. >> guest: he is. he of knows the industry very, very well. he's been involved in these issues deeply for some years. he's fan fantastically knowledge about these things, open minded and fire-minded, i think he'll -- fair-minded. >> host: do you find that congress overall understands some of the technical issues that you're dealing with? >> guest: like all issues, the it's going to be a mix. there's such a vast range of issues, you can't expect every member to understand every issue. but you do have members, greg wald withen being one of them,
who do understand these things very, very well with, and just as importantly, they have staff members who have lived in this world deeply for a long time. there are a couple of key staffers that are on the hill that everyone knows who are very, very good, very smart, very thoughtful, very knowledgeable. i actually -- there's a narrative that you may be hinting at, how can congress take on such a complex issue like rewriting the telecom act. you have some key members, key staffers that absolutely have the capability to do this. they have the knowledge, the wherewithal to take on these issues. >> so you envision legislation that could sort of refine the definition of title ii or maybe make clear that, you know, your business doesn't fit under title ii, by and large. your broadband business. do you foresee that this legislation would be limited to that, or could there be a lot of other issues? and if so, what do you think those issues might be?
>> guest: if it were me, i would stand back and take a fresh look at the industry. think about the 1996 telecom act. it literally reflects the world of the early '90s. what were some of the key issues that you were trying to solve? long distance and local competition coming into effect. in essence, it's been wildly successful but think about the debates around privacy. do you have the privacy provision, the so-called privacy provision. it was originally written as basically a marketing -- it was written to say the local phone company sees your calling patterns, your long distance calling patternings, so they have an advantage marketing a long distance plan vis-a-vis mci at the time. completely irrelevant in today's world. and that budget in any way -- that wasn't in any way written as a broad provision for the internet ecosystem.
so you think about a world that didn't have any of the major players, the googles, the facebooks, the twitters that wasn't part of the ecosystem. it was really about bringing the cable guys, but yet hugely successful in what it was meant to accomplish but not all structure for the way the industry works today. so i think you really want to stand back instead of tinkering with the telecom act, you really stand back and say what is the industry structure, what is the thingses you are trying to achieve and how do you write a statute and set up agencies that are designed to operate and achieve those things, competition and consumer protection, in today's world? >> so you see a fairly far reaching scope for this legislation. >> guest: i do. i think that, i think if you think about the amount of technological market change over 20 years, if you're going to change it, say what am i trying to achieve for consumers in competition. don't ticker around -- tinker around the edges.
>> host: at what point do you draw that line in the sand and say, okay, from this day forward, let's move? with technology moving so quickly, how to do you draw that line? >> guest: yeah, that's a great question. you really can't expect congress to put something in statute that anticipates the future. no one can. if we all knew how to anticipate the great new technologies of the future, we'd have a crystal ball that'd allow us to be great investors. so what you have to do is design a law that doesn't assume technologies. you have to base it on a couple of core principles, right? how do you drive competition, how do you protect consumers. but don't build a statutory framework as it is today where it's built around silos of telecom, cable, wireless. when all those things meld, it begins to put strains on the fundamental statutory construction. what you want to do is say assumed continued evolutions of technology, assume and build it
on a couple of guiding principles like consumer protection, and then the statutes and the regs can flex and move as the technology grows and changes. >> host: does that indicate as well that the fcc, perhaps, should be reorganized? >> guest: i think that the fcc certainly should continue to evolve with new technologies. the fcc originally had been built around certain silos of technologies, wire line and wireless. what not. again, as those issues become more melded, i think absolutely you need to look at -- that's not a criticism of the way something was set up in the past, simply a recognition that as the technology changes, as the markets change, you need to change the framework of the regulator to make sure that they are structured in a way to meet the needs of today's technology, today's markets and today's consumers. >> do you think you should keep regulation of what are called edge providers, the internet companies such as google or facebook, you know, when it comes to privacy issues or other issues like that, do you think
that that regulation should stay at the ftc, or should it move to the cff? is there -- fcc? is there a way to slice that? >> guest: first of all, i think the whole question of what you should regulate, we should be careful not to fall into thinking that says a certain class of companies or a certain type of technology should be regulated per se. i think you all want to look and say, okay, where's the competition, where there's more competition, you need less regulation. where you see competition breaking down, that's where you need a little more regulation, and what are the consumer harms that could arise, and how do you do that. as far as your larger question, it clearly is the case that the ftc and the fcc are increasingly overlapping in terms of their jurisdiction. you see that with verizon. you asked earlier about the type of businesses that verizon is in, and you're in this odd situation where parts of our business are regulated by one agency, parts of the business are regulated by the other. >> right. >> guest: for that matter, a device and mobile device, consumer protection driven in
part by where in that device, is it the network? is it the operating system? that doesn't really make sense, right? and it's not good for consumers. so i do think over time you begin to say what are the important consumer protection principles, what is the agency best suited to regulate that, that entire ecosystem in a coherent way. i certainly think that would be good policy making going forward. >> speaking of change in markets, at&t, one of your rivals, is trying to do a deal to acquire time warner. how does that make you think about your business? what does that reflect about the market and how it is changing? >> guest: ing yeah. i think, you know, first, i can't speak to at&t's rationale for their deal. as far as how we look at it, we're -- we've articulated a strategy, we're very comfortable with that. to a large degree, what you see is at&t is buying a couple very good assets back with directv
and now with time warner that are some of the traditional winners in the particular content distribution or content creation parking lot obviously the e -- parts of the ecosystem. our strategy is really looking at where we believe the content can function, content distribution is going. some of the mobile first, high liqueur rated -- highly curated but also highly personalized, over the top kind of short form videos that we're doing with go 90, so a lot of our business whether it's aol, yahoo!, whether it's our investment in awesomeness tv or complex media, those are all about saying this is where we think the puck is going, and we're going to state to where we i -- skate to where we think the puck is -- >> host: what is go 90? >> guest: go 90 is an app that serves up short form, professionally-produced content on an advertising base model.
so it's not -- you get the content for free. it's supported by advertising, and it's really designed for the way a lot of, particularly millennials, are consuming content. on the go, mobile first, or short form, following different shows, different stories, things like that. available for download. i can help you put it on your device, peter: >> host: if that's the future, as you say, what happens to your fios home package? >> guest: i think that that continues to be a great business. fios, of course, also includes broadband which is underpinning all of this. and the fios broadband continues to be a great business, one that we continue to invest in. and we also see the traditional linear content model continuing to be attractive for some time to come. but consumers do want more and more flexibility in how they buy. we've been pushing the so-called skinny bundles, trying to give consumers more flexibility in what channels they get as part
of their package if they don't want to buy the full 500 channels but would rather have 60. that's a struggle because of the way the contracts are set up today and the way that content licensing works, but we're trying to push that to give consumers more of a full span of options of how they consume content. everything from the traditional 500 package linear model to something like go 90 that's very flexible, on the go, short form, on demand. >> do you think though going back to the at&t deal, does this put a little more pressure on you to do a bigger deal? you certainly have acquired some big companies recently, but are you under more pressure now to acquire a big media company? >> guest: no, i don't think so. i think fundamentally our strategy is going to be driven by what we think we need to meet consumer demands, not just in reaction to what someone else does. so that's not -- don't read anything into whether we would or wouldn't do such a deal. whether we do or don't will not be driven by what at&t has done, but rather how we --
>> to go a little further, how do you see the landscape differently than at&t. >> guest: as i said, i think there's a whole spectrum of content consumption, production, distribution and consumption. of there's probably going to be room for success in various of those models. consumers are going to hook for different thing -- to look for different things. so it may be that there's room to compete in different areas at the same time, but we're certainly putting more of a bet right now on the forward-looking distribution and consumption models than at&t. >> host: craig silliman, current fcc chair tom wheeler is not a fan of so-called zero rating what ease verizon's perspective? -- what's verizon's perspective? >> guest: it's funny, because zero rating is a business model that's been around for a long, long time. "wall street journal" has advertisements that mean that my subscription is less than it otherwise would be.
broadcast tv and radio, i can consume content without paying for that. you know, back in the day when netflix was still doing a lot of dvds, they paid for the mailing of that. amazon, a lot of retailers pay for the mailing when i buy things from them. so there's a fundamental business model that says companies will provide the transport for free in order to encourage consumers to consume more of the content that they're providing. that's a pretty well established business model, and generally speaking i think when consumers get something for free, they're pretty happy, and it's a pretty good thing. so i've been a little amused as i see some of the advocates opposing zero -- i sometimes think there's a quote by h.l. mencken where he defined puretism as the haunting fear that someone somewhere is happy. [laughter] and this thing about zero is
someone getting something for free. it feels patronizing, a little condescending if i say i know you love getting all that content streaming for free, but it's bad for you, believe me. i think it gives people more of what they want. it's a well-establish model, i think it's good, and i think policymakers ultimately think so. >> another thing that people like is to get their broadband and have it work and be able to get on web sites. but i think increasingly people are worried that our networks are not terribly secure all the time. you want to talk about cybersecurity and what you think the industry can do differently to make it safer? >> guest: sure. so i think there are a couple of things on cybersecurity. first, obviously, industry to everyone. we all need to take cybersecurity very seriously. we certainly do. we spend an inordinate amount of
time. and it's not something that's ever done. so i think we can do various things, and there's been some hopeful developments that enable members of industry to share information so that you see common threats. you all share the best information that you have as these things develop. i think that's important. i also think, though, there's a growing trend that's very important that we talk about in the policy making world, and that really is the growing threat from nation-states. and the u.s. government is a little bifurcated, a little schizophrenic almost on this issue. when you have a major attack, sometimes you have parts of the government that are there to help and parts that are, frankly, punishing the -- >> explain that. >> guest: well, in the sense that every time you can have a breach by a major nation-state, and you have agencies coming in immediately saying we're going
to fine the company for doing something wrong. so think about this in the physical world. you have a cargo ship sailing up the east coast of the united states and gets torpedoed by the russians, excuse me, you don't have someone in the government saying you should have hardened the ship against the missile. or if i have a warehouse and a cruise missile blows it up from a hostile invasion, you don't have a regulatory agency saying you should have built the warehouse to withstand an attack from a missile. so, again, not saying that companies don't have responsibility to be responsive on cybersecurity. we absolutely do. but when you're beginning to deal with nation-states, you're dealing with an adversary that has so much capability, so much power that, frankly, the u.s. government's struggling to defend be itself. i think it's unreasonable to simply say if you get hit by an attack of that level of sophistication, we're simply going to fine you and punish you until you do better. i think we need to have more of
a dialogue between the private sector can and government to say in this world we're very sophisticated, very high capability attacks are coming in, how do we work together to defend companies, government, everyone else just as we do in the physical world? which, again, there's fundamental roles of government which is to protect the national security. and as we get into these nation-state attacks, i think increasingly we need the government to help protect rather than just come in and fine us. >> and do you think the government can do more and, specifically, should we be retaliating more aggressively? >> guest: the answer to your first question, should the government be doing more? yeah. the whole question of retaliation gets into very thorny issues, and i don't want to get too far. that gets into very case-by-case situations and, obviously, you're dealing government to government. certainly, companies should not be in the middle of that. as far as doing more though,
absolutely. the u.s. government has tremendous capabilities. and i think we need to figure out how to leverage those very important privacy issues that need to be taken into account. the important separation of government and private sector issues that need to be taken into account. but when you have the type of capabilities and visibility that parts of the u.s. government have to protect networks overall, i think we could do more to work together to leverage that, to protect important industries, important networks in the u.s. >> host: well, and finally, craig s irk lliman, what is the status of verizon's purchase of yahoo! given the fact that we're talking about breaches in cybersecurity? >> guest: nice segment, peter. i'll simply say this. we've said things publicly, we continue to work on the keel. i don't have any new news report on the status of the breach. is certainly, when we have something new to report, we'll be saying it publicly. >> host: craig silliman is
executive vice president for public policy at verizon and john mckibbon covers technology for "the wall street journal." >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. ..