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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 DLeRium on 8/2/2007 11:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry if not everybody lives in Soviet-style apartment blocks located within 500 feet of all centrally located city ammenities.

I've got a proposition in on a home in Brown County, Indiana right now (between Nashville and Morgantown), and despite being somewhat in the middle of nowhere (30 minute driver to Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Columbus, all three very substantial towns, with Bloomington and Columbus being tech hubs), and nearly everybody around the particular lake the home is on has a computer. Given the lengthy discussion we all had about how our different brokerage websites handled complex trades, they seem versed enough. Yet the local phone company has been saying they'd get DSL in just a couple months for several years. There are people out in the rural areas (if you ever look at Google Earth at Indiana or look out the window of a plane you'll quickly realize that there's an amazing amount of people living in the middle of "nowhere"), and they deserve access as much as you do.

Not to mention this spectrum can provide competition to the high-brow intelligentsia who dare not lower themselves to leave their urban combine and their current broad-band duopoly, so you're just not forking over cash to us ignorant hillbillies that take pleasure in simple things -- like a view of something other than vast expanses of pavement; it would benefit everybody. quote>

Uhh we don't live in Soviet style apartments here in suburbs. If you sum up the people who live in urban and suburban areas you're dealing with 90% of the population. I may be closer to the hills and just out of reach of DSL but I still get Cable. I have friends who live in the hills in richer areas and while they have trouble getting pizza delivery, they still get cable service and cell service.

To tell me that DSL or Cable can't get to your area means you live in the middle of nowhere.

Watch. America will have a stupid 700 MHz frequency that does nothing. It's just like we have a stupid 850 band and because of it the wireless phone industry in the US is pathetic. It also explains why we have the crappiest phones in the world.

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