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Verizon appeals open-access spectrum

We knew that Verizon, AT&T, et. al, wouldn’t like the 700 MHz spectrum auction rules. They badly want that piece of the pie, though, so they’re doing the American thing: filing suit. They find that the open-access provision and all the conditions thereto “exceed the commission’s authority and were unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.” Yes, companies will say anything when they get desperate, and they’ll do anything to cover up their blatant play for even more power. They want your money, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.

The rules say that whoever buys a certain part of the spectrum must allow any handset device to be attached to the wireless network that is subsequently built. They also require the winning bidder to allow any software application to be downloaded onto handsets over the network.

Just what, exactly, is wrong with that?

To Verizon, the answer is simple: open access means less money for them. It gives people more choices, and more choices takes dollars out of the pockets of Verizon’s rich executives. And they can’t have that; if their pile of money doesn’t continue to grow, what good is it?

Control is another issue. Right now, Verizon has absolute control over your device. They can do whatever they please to it — including deleting your contacts without notifying you. Now, they don’t necessarily make a habit of that, but they do reserve the right. WIth unlocked devices working on an open access network, they’d lose that power — it would be transferred to the consumer, which is where it should be in the first place.

Verizon called the auction rules “arbitrary and capricious.” We call them “fair and liberating,” and there still could have been more done to make the spectrum more consumer-friendly. But we’ll take what we can get now.

Honestly, if Verizon wins this appeal, we don’t know what we’ll do. It would be a sad day for cell phone using Americans everywhere.

[LA Times]

6 Responses

  1. Mike Says

    Wow, what is it with this website? I was reading a few articles and it seems that so far, most of them have this snotty “they-are-trying-to-take-over-the-world-and-I-won’t-have-it!” undertone. Let’s say that you purchased electricity from the local utility and you charged a group of people to use it as long as their appliances drew a certain amount of power in order to maintain a high level of service for all. You would be happy and so would your customers. Let’s say that some other people wanted to use higher powered devices, on your power grid, without paying you…and the government says you have to allow it. You would be miffed, as would your customers. The unregulated devices would affect the network adversely, driving up costs for yourself as well as disrupting or degrading service for those paying customers. Hate Verizon if you will, but they are looking out for themselves as you would in the same situation.

    Oh, and those contracts? They allow for cheaper pricing on devices. Customers are very spoiled. People have never grasped subsidized handsets and always expect a free phone even after mistreating their current one causing it to not work. I am a paying customer and I very rarely drop a call, however, I understand that it happens at times and I don’t flip out or call in demanding a credit for the full month of service. It is the nature of the technology and it is getting better. Read the contract, read the fine print, and you will understand this. Another thing. When your TV breaks, do you call the cable company and curse them and threaten to switch providers? Then why do it to your cell phone company? YES I work in tech support for a cell provider.


    Posted on October 15th, 2007 at 7:53 pm
  2. Joe Says

    Comments like this are always appreciated, Mike. Yes, there are two sides to every story…including some of what you have in your response. I won’t go at them individually, since that would be massive. There are ways to regulate an open-access spectrum, and there is a way to subsidize phones without forcing customers to sign away their right to sue the company.

    But mostly, the things you’re talking about are not what we’re all about. We want to empower the consumer, but examples like yours of demanding a free month of service for a dropped call is ridiculous.

    (And the TV/Phone analogy is weak, since a phone is something you tote around with you everywhere and a TV moves infrequently if ever.)


    Posted on October 16th, 2007 at 11:42 am

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