Until now, only the big telecom companies (ala Verizon and AT&T) have been able or interested in securing a part of the wireless spectrum. Because of this, the usage of said spectrum has been rather stifled by big companies that want complete control of their networks. Consumers can only use the phones that their carriers say are ok, can rarely modify the software on those phones, and generally have to operate in a kind of walled garden that is controlled by their carrier. Google's stipulations directly confront these "locked-up" rules with a set of "open" rules, elaborated in their public letter to the FCC:
- Open applications: Consumers should be able to download
and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
- Open devices: Consumers should be able to utilize
a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they
- Open services: Third parties (resellers) should be
able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale
basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and
- Open networks: Third parties (like internet service
providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible
point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.
In response to Google's ground shaking demand for openness, the FCC has decided to accept two of Google's four rules. They are supporting the requirements for applications and devices (so unlocked phones are a distinct possibility), but they denied the request for services and networks to be sold off by a wholesaler. Of course, if Google wins the bid, it can do all the wholesaling it wants, so some would say that the decision certainly favors Google. Even still, Ars Technica reports that the bid is not until January 16, 2008, so Google and its competitors have some time to decide their long term strategies for this new set of wavelengths.
Blogged with Flock