Coalition Groups Call For Open Mobile Access

Unless you like paying a lot for a little

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Mobile Internet access is being hailed as the next great revolution as an estimated 3 billion handheld devices are sold (about 38 per second). Comparatively, less than half that number have fixed, wired connections. But universal access advocates warn that half of the world (or at least the ones in the United States) will not enjoy all the Internet has to offer.

Coalition Groups Call For Open Mobile Access

Just like the early days of the World Wide Web, FreePress.net and SaveTheInternet.com fear that the mobile web will be a walled garden with limited access as telecommunications companies and wireless companies seek to capitalize on every entry point and turn consumers take.

At the heart of this issue is the outcome of the 700 MHz auction, soon to be kicked off by the Federal Communications Commissions. Upon the pressure of Google and counter-pressure of the telecommunications industry, the FCC took what activists call a "half-step" toward open access requirements by requiring true mobility between networks and the ability to use the application of your choice.

However, the winners of the auction (in which the field of players is now smaller given the folding of Frontline) are not required, as Google requested to guaranteed any type of Network Neutrality or to wholesale spectrum in order to increase wireless competition.

The result of that could be that those who might have enjoyed Internet access similar to the access they enjoy with fixed connections (i.e., unlimited data streams – unless you’re a Comcast customer using torrents) will have to shell out cash at every turn, thus limiting the possibilities an open wireless net could produce.

SaveTheInternet.com puts it this way:

"[T]he promise of more universal access will only come to be if those who win 700 band licenses are actually interested in bringing choice to the market.

"Companies like AT&T and Verizon hope to horde this spectrum and stifle competitive and cheaper alternatives to their closed networks. Letting them gain exclusive control over the 700 band would likely spell disaster — a wireless world that’s still dominated by a handful of carriers with a track record of price gouging and an aversion to innovation."

And likely the US will fall further behind in broadband and mobile Internet access as powerbrokers put profits and shareholders above the wants and needs of customers.


Coalition Groups Call For Open Mobile Access
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