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FCC holds fast on 700MHz open access rules

updated 04:30 pm EDT, Thu October 4, 2007

FCC Holds on 700MHz Rules

FCC chairman Kevin Martin on Thursday backed away from what many believed was an attempt to soften the rules for the upcoming 700MHz wireless auction, according to claims from sources connected to the organization. Although the regulatory chief was feared to be relaxing open access conditions to appease Verizon after the latter's executives lobbied Martin's office in mid-September, Democrat-affiliated FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps are said to have ensured that the rules remained as-is and would ensure that any company licensing one of the wireless bands would have to allow any compatible device and any software to run on its service.

Martin's apparent turn may also have been a result of being caught out by misleading statements, according to the report. While the FCC head claimed to have met Verizon to clarify the rules only as understood by the anti-restriction advocacy group Media Access Project, the latter contradicted the statement and said that it had not petitioned the FCC for help, leaving Martin's motives in doubt.

"We did not ask for any kind of clarification," said MAP's senior VP Harold Feld, who along with other groups asked for a disclosure of what took place in Verizon's lobbying efforts last month.

These groups have joined Google in warning against even a partial relaxation of the rules, as they believe incumbent cellphone carriers like Verizon would try to abuse exceptions to maintain their exclusive business models. Allowing these corporations to behave this way would constitute creating "safe harbors" where the rules no longer apply, the advocates said.

Verizon was handed another setback today when a court denied the company's emergency motion to fast-track a lawsuit against the FCC, which would have forced changes in the rules. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals said that other complaints were likely to come and that it would be more practical to deal with them as a whole. The denial may push back a ruling in Verizon's suit until the January 2008 auction period or sometime afterwards.

by MacNN Staff




  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    F*** Verizon!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If you don't like the rules, don't bid!

    But verizon has a point. As we all know, the open access rules we have for land-lines has been nothing but one huge problem and expense. As they said in the qualms,

    Imposing any such requirements in the competitive wireless market would reduce the revenue the government will receive from the spectrum auction and limit the introduction of new and innovative wireless services,"

    This is so true. Innovation on the phone system was through the roof until the gov't ruled you could hook up anything to the phone lines. And can you imagine the exciting new features verizon could do with this spectrum if they weren't hamstrung by the FCC. h***, they'd be certainly putting out more stuff a lot quicker than any 3rd party could, and those third-party ideas will cost tons of $$$ and stuff, and just not be as affordable then what Verizon could offer.

  1. bbman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Verizon a total lockdown!

    No Verizon is counter to that unless you say innovation for them and their pockets but definitely not for the consumer. Yes they have a huge network and their plans seem to be ok but what I hate is buying a phone and having its usefulness be limited because they lock it down for their gain. I purchased the hardware and I should be able to use it as the hardware was meant to be used. I purchased their service and that is all they should be doing is providing the service not limiting functionality unfairly!! Unusable innovations are not innovations at all!!!

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: hey!

    Except the difference here is that the arguement is over naturally occuring radio frequencies - not over physical property as the land line were being disputed over in the past_

    AT&T [Ma Bell] back in the 80's was bitching 'cause they paid for the infrastructure_

    Granted that Verizon has invested in Cell Towers and Satellites and what not - but with the like of Apple or Google being interested - it's a fairly safe bet that they would each have enough financial clout to weild their own projects without brusing Verizons "property"_

    I'm w/ Eldarkus - Verizon can go have their temper-tantrum elsewhere and if they don't like the playground they don't have to play_ [read if they don;t like the rules for the auction - they don;t have to bid on the blocks - no one is "forcing" Verizon to join the auction]

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