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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]