Google: FCC Must Clarify Open Access
Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 06, 2008
What does wireless open access mean?
It’s no surprise that Google sees the definition as very different than Verizon Wireless. And Google is now asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take sides and clarify its so-called “open access” requirements, imposed onto a chunk of spectrum recently purchased by Verizon Wireless. Open access dictates that consumers using the spectrum should be able to use devices and applications of their choice. While that may sound self-explanatory, it’s not. As always, the devil is in the details.
In a May 2 filing, Google points out a number of ambiguities in the FCC’s language surrounding open access. For example, the FCC said that the spectrum buyer may not “disable features on handsets it provides to customers.” But Google claims that Verizon plans to treat customers using its open-access network differently from all others — and that that would be a violation of that very rule. “If the correct direction is not set now, concurrent with the application review and grant process, the Commission’s policy goals will be thwarted…” Google warns in its filing.
Alas, the real battle for open access is just beginning.