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VZ Investors Applaud FCC Chair Wheeler, Urge Co to “Get Real” on Net Neutrality

February 4, 2015: Shareholders of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) welcomed today’s announcement by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler that he intends to propose strong new network neutrality rules and regulate Internet providers with Title II of the Communications Act, the most powerful law available to the FCC.

The investors also urged Verizon to carefully weigh the risks presented by the company’s continuing opposition to the FCC’s network neutrality principles. A shareholder proposal asking Verizon’s board to report on those risks is scheduled to be voted on at the company’s annual meeting in May.

“It’s time for Verizon to get real and deal with the critical business arguments that support open Internet principles and practices,” said Michael Connor, Executive Director of Open MIC, a non-profit organization that works with investors on open media issues.

Since 2010, through shareholder proposals and public comments Open MIC, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Trillium Asset Management LLC and other investors have publicly urged companies such as AT&T and Verizon as well as the FCC to adopt strong and robust net neutrality protections.

“We have consistently argued that open Internet policies help drive the economy, encourage innovation and reward investors,” said Laura Campos, director of shareholder activities at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. “An open Internet also has particular importance for people of color and economically disadvantaged communities, which rely on wireless more than other demographic groups.” Importantly, FCC Chairman Wheeler has indicated that wireless broadband service would now also be subject to Title II regulation.

“Verizon senior management has completely mismanaged its approach to net neutrality: articulating inconsistent positions, wasting resources on litigation, and exaggerating the negative consequences of net neutrality,” said Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President of Trillium Asset Management. “If Verizon had embraced net neutrality – as shareholders have been urging it to since 2010 – it would not have created this high-risk situation.”

For more information: Michael Connor, Executive Director, Open MIC, mconnor@openmic.org, 212-875-9381

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Open MIC, the Open Media and Information Companies Initiative, is a non-profit organization which works with companies and investors to foster more open and democratic media in the U.S.

Trillium Asset Management is an investment management advisor exclusively focused on sustainable and responsible investing, with over $2.2 billion in assets under management.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is committed to the creation of a socially and economically just society. With an endowment of approximately $400 million, the Foundation is an institutional investor with a long-term perspective. As such, the Foundation is concerned that corporations that do not consider the long-term implications of their environmental, social and governance practices may maximize short-term profitability but fail to develop sustainable, long-term business models.

Editor’s Note: This press release was originally published by Open MIC which is solely responsible for its content.

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