2007-07-21

700 Mhz spectrum: call for an open wireless network

The announcement by the US FCC chairman, Kevin Martin, to call for an open broadband network represents an opportunity within the US and abroad to show support for a policy that benefits all.

Inevitably there are several interests, and well represented in Washington, lobbying for preserving a fragmented, exclusionary, proprietary and closed model as the subject spectrum is reallocated from frequencies currently used by analogue television channels 52-to-69.

It is refreshing to read a call by the FCC advocating a policy contrary to the existing closed model and challenge industry towards offering an open, competitive and universal one.

The existing closed model sees a franchise to the benefit of few selected companies, characterized by a fragmented, exclusionary and proprietary services where units, such as cell-phones, and applications work only within each offering,
country-club like.

In contrast, an open model sees it as a needed common, competitive service to benefit the community for a function that is not a luxury. It is a needed service in todays interconnected world with the added property that devices, phone-sets and applications should plug-and-play as required across competing offerings.


By having industry, interest-groups and ordinary citizens support an open access where any device, any application and any network provider offers phone, gateway to the Internet among other functions, via this spectrum, will ensure competition and universal availability of a common service grandchild of the lessons and experience of the Internet.

It is timely to have the support of Google for the service in the form of 4.6 billion dollars bid and challenge the industry to comply with the characteristics of an open model. From Google's blog re subject, we have the following:

In the U.S., wireless spectrum for mobile phones and data is controlled by a small group of companies, leaving consumers with very few service providers from which to choose. With that in mind, last week, as the federal government prepares for what is arguably its most significant auction of wireless spectrum in history, we urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules to make sure that regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers' interests are the top priority. Specifically, we encouraged the FCC to require the adoption of four types of "open" platforms as part of the auction:
  1. Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
  2. Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize their handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
  3. Open services: third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms;
  4. Open networks: third parties (like Internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.
It will be equally interesting to have IBM, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, et al to support the call for an open common service by the US FCC.

What will be even more important is that this call be an international one from Brazil, to Venezuela, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, India, China, Australia, Canada, etc, to join in a call supported by respective Governments, industry and citizen groups and request a service available everywhere common and universal as the Internet and GPS.

The availability of such a common connectivity spectrum will be of most benefit to inner-cities, displaced, rural and and remote communities. Content can be targeted to these communities to bring education and certification, health services, and monitoring and employment opportunities for police, forests, water quality and levels, roads, weather and environmental sensors, should be of special interest to countries with vast remote areas such as Canada, Russia, China, Brazil.

For Canada this service should be of special interest to the Federal Government to bring participation and presence to the north along with services to over 600 remote and native communities across the country. Contact Industry Canada and the CRTC and your local Provincial and Federal government representatives to solicit their view and support for an open common service as proposed in the US by the FCC - see related FCC upper 700 Mhz Band auction page here.

Updates
  • AT&T endorses FCC's call for an open wireless service.
  • Google bets on mobile market: CNet.
  • FCC approves some open wireless requirements: CNet.
  • FCC approves revised 700 MHz band plan and service rules: FCC.
  • Band plan chart: FCC.
  • Kevin Martin's statement: FCC.
  • Why it matters; good comments re subject.
  • The battle of models, open versus closed, is best exemplified by the running discord between Google and Verizon; have a look here and here.

1 comment:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira.(If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. Thanks for the attention, bye). Até mais.