In a sad announcement for all of us who wanted a truly open spectrum hosted by companies that would provide us innovative products, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has announced that they will not put a wholesale requirement on the 700 MHz spectrum. Mr. Martin believes — rightly so — that such a requirement would make the big players less willing to bid on and build the network. So what happens now?
Martin, who has proposed a minimum bid price of $4.6 billion for the spectrum Google is seeking, wants the winner to open its network to any legal mobile device or application. Although his plan would allow companies to resell airwaves, it wouldn’t require it. “The proposal I put forth isn’t designed to facilitate entry of any particular company” into the wireless market, Martin said. “It’s not about any of the companies but about the consumers.”We appreciate Martin’s sentiment, we disagree with the “about the consumers” bit. If AT&T or Verizon win that spectrum, it will not be about the consumers; it will be about what they can do to make the most money. Whereas Google’s plan would truly benefit consumers by providing open airwaves at a reasonable rate. It’s a small blow, but it’s a blow nonetheless. [LA Times]]]>