Verizon Communications Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg said on Wednesday the current debate about net neutrality is extremely troubling and risks halting progress in broadband development.

Speaking at the Supercomm technology trade show, Seidenberg warned that if new regulations do not apply equally to Internet companies like Google Inc and, telecom providers would risk unintended consequences.

If we can't earn a return on the investment we make in broadband our progress will be delayed Seidenberg said, referring to the idea of regulating telcos and Internet companies differently as analog ideas in a digital age.

He referred to the downfall of WorldCom earlier this decade as an example of how misguided regulations could have risky consequences. Seidenberg said that rather than impose rigid structural rules, the FCC should help create conditions for growth.

Seidenberg also said he expects to launch fourth-generation high-speed wireless services in 25 to 30 markets next year and the company would expand its FiOS Internet and broadband service to 17 million homes by the end of 2010.

Verizon owns No. 1 U.S. mobile service Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group Plc.

 (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Maureen Bavdek)