Interesting op-ed in Saturday’s New York Times from Lowell C. McAdam, chief executive of Verizon Communications. He argues for releasing and repurposing radio spectrum so new technologies can move forward. He’s worried the Verizon’s of the world will run out of bandwidth.
At issue is the allocation of wireless spectrum, the crucial “real estate” upon which wireless networks are built.
So far, so good. Lots of businesses have bandwidth they’re not using or not using efficiently. Verizon and other wireless providers are voracious user of bandwidth. We need to move forward to serve all our needs.
Here’s my problem. It is buried at the end of a sentence near the end of the op-ed.
In previous auctions, the F.C.C. has excluded potential participants and dictated aspects of a winning bidder’s business plan.
Verizon doesn’t want that!
They’re wary because of a spectrum auction held in 2008. To win Verizon had to make certain open access promises. FreePress.net, an advocacy group, says Verizon has gone back on its promise. They’ve gone so far as to file with the FCC to force Verizon to comply.
When Verizon purchased the spectrum licenses associated with its LTE network, it agreed that it would not “deny, limit, or restrict” the ability of its users to access the applications and devices of their choosing. Recent news reports suggest that at Verizon’s behest, Google has disabled Verizon customers’ access to third-party tethering applications in Google’s Android Market application store. Plainly, Verizon’s actions in disabling access to the tethering applications limit and restrict the ability of users to access those applications. Because users download tethering applications for the express purpose of connecting additional devices to their data connections, Verizon’s actions also limit and restrict the ability of users to connect the devices of their choice to the LTE network. The Commission should immediately investigate this apparent violation of its rules and assess all appropriate penalties.
Should Verizon be allowed to restrict the use of our spectrum because it might compete with their other products? Radio spectrum isn’t owned by companies. It’s owned by us and administered by the FCC. Shouldn’t it be used to serve our collective best interest?
When our best interest and Verizon’s best interest conflict who should make the call? Verizon says they should!
That’s the rub.
Mr. McAdam buried the lede.