Google gets 2 out of 4

Just a quick post on the upcoming 700MHz spectrum. Yesterday, FCC released guidelines on the auction. Google was pressing for 4 points on its policy blog:
* Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
* Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
* 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; and
* Open networks: third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at a technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee’s wireless network.

FCC is gone along with the first two, which is important because outside developers can innovative as we have seen on the Internet, but less so on mobile phones. However, it appears that the winners of the spectrum will not be forced to keep their services and networks open.

I still getting my head wrapped around that FCC actually said. Google hasn’t say yet if they are going to bid in the auction. But they are more likely now that given the FCC’s guidelines. Along similar lines, even if the FCC implemented open networks and open services in the auction guidelines, openness is ultimately all about execution. Defining and overseeing “nondiscriminatory” pricing is crucial. As seen, in the attempts to open wirelines, the task is tricky and can be gamed. Inflated prices make it economically impossible for third parties to profitably lease pipes and services, similar to the experience of third-party broadband ISPs.

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