USA Today is reporting that Kevin Martin, FCC Chairman, will be proposing that hte upcoming 700Mhz spectrum auction would leave consumers with choice. The requirement for the 700Mhz frequency spectrum to be an “open platform” means that “You can use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restrictions.”
Martin cites concerns “that we are seeing some innovations being rolled out more slowly here than we are in other parts of the world,” as a driving force behind the push to keep the new spectrum open to consumers.
Google has chimed in with their thoughts on the hot, new 700Mhz band (which is being freed up as TV broadcasters abandon the 700Mhz band in favor of all digital transmissions). Although Google believes they stand little chance of any success in winning any part of the 700Mhz band, they want the winner of the auction to abide by a few “open platform” standard. The winner should keep the spectrum open to applications – allowing any service or software to download content; open to devices – any handheld device should be allowed to access any wireless network; open to services – third-party resellers should be allowed to acquire wireless services from any 700Mhz licensee; and open to networks – allowing third-party ISPs to work with the new spectrum.
We’re totally with Google on this one. With the threat of closed networks imposing their will on consumers, we live in danger of losing choice and market competition (which would drive up cost). Keeping the 700Mhz spectrum open would also spur development and rolling-out of new services that are sorely missing from the US wireless market.