Google Challenges Verizon On Open Access

    October 5, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Verizon has been lobbying for changes to the 700MHz wireless auction that would remove an open access requirement permitting subscribers to use any handset they like with that spectrum.

Google cited Verizon’s chat with Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin on September 17th about open access, a meeting that ran counter to FCC rules.

Consumer Affairs said Google is not pleased that these secret lobbying meetings between Verizon and Martin have taken place. A letter from Google’s Richard Whitt complained about the propriety of the alleged meetings:

Given that Verizon already has appealed the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, however, it may not also at the same time seek FCC reconsideration. Under these circumstances, the Commission should declare that Verizon may not sidestep the mandatory procedures of the Communications Act and the Commission’s rules by denying the public the right to understand and respond to its reconsideration positions – or enjoying two bites at the proverbial apple.

Open access to the spectrum, were it run by Verizon, would allow people to bring devices from hardware makers who don’t have exclusive distribution deals with Verizon and use them as part of a subscription on 700MHz.

Without open access, whoever controls the 700MHz spectrum could continue locking out features for US consumers that wireless customers in Asia and Europe take for granted on their devices. That would not be a progressive development for future 700MHz subscribers.