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The Federal Communications Commission believes the 700 MHz spectrum could save the U.S. from broadband duopoly, but it's apprehensive about Google's wholesale requirements

In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, three out of the five FCC commissioners told lawmakers that they are supportive of the open-access standards as proposed by FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, according to Reuters. “A network more open to devices and applications can help ensure that the fruits of innovation on the edges of the network swiftly pass into the hands of consumers,” said Martin, speaking to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Democratic commissioner John Adelstein specifically noted that an open-access approach “could open these key airwaves to badly needed competition in the broadband space.”

Republican commissioners Deborah Tate and Robert McDowell had not decided whether to support or oppose the standards, however McDowell expressed that he is leaning towards opposition.

Martin spoke to the subcommittee of a “third pipe,” expressing the necessity of an alternative to cable and DSL service for high-speed internet access into the home, particularly those who cannot be served with existing services like those living in the rural parts of America. “Depending on how the Commission structures the upcoming auction, we will either enable the emergence of a third broadband pipe -- one that would be available to rural as well as urban American -- or we will miss our biggest opportunity.”

The open-access proposal by Martin has garnered support by No. 1 wireless provider AT&T, which made a sudden reversal from the rest of the wireless industry, and was threatening litigation again open-access provisions in a time period as short as a few weeks ago. However, the plan is still opposed by No. 2 provider Verizon Wireless, and the rest of the wireless industry.

Less clear, however, is the commission’s support for Google’s vision of “open-access”, as outlined by a July 20 letter sent to FCC Chairman Martin by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, asking for “unwavering obligations to provide (1) open applications, (2) open devices, (3) open wholesale services, and (4) open network access.” 

Martin expressed reservations about Google’s proposal, which has been met with fierce criticism from the wireless industry. It’s a “giant scheme to have the 700MHz auction rigged with special conditions in its favor,” says CTIA president Steve Largent. U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich) stated, “the free market works best. And successful auctions work best without encumbrances."

Martin’s plan needs the support of a majority of the commissioners to get approval, and can be dropped off the agenda if it does not gain the necessary support. The FCC announced on Tuesday its intention to hold a commission meeting on July 31 to discuss service rules and determine the plan’s fate.



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RE: Rural areas?
By Ringold on 7/27/2007 3:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
Okay, that got bumped to a 1 in the amount of time it took the page to reload and for me to scroll down to it. What, DT auto-detect a flame and down-mod? :) I can't flame even a troll?! You guys are no fun.


RE: Rural areas?
By Bigginz on 8/1/2007 3:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
OK, how did I go from rating of 2 to a -1 with one comment?? I was not trying to start a flame war.

I was just making a point that the percentage of people living in rural areas and that desire Internet access is pretty small compared to metropolitan areas. Not to mention rural residents that are willing to pay a few hundred dollars for a computer and a monthly fee for Internet access.


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