Verizon Communications, Inc.’s Verizon Wireless unit has filed an action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking the Appellate Court to invalidate the open-access conditions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the upcoming January 2008 auction of soon-to-be-available 700 MHz analog airwaves spectrum.
Verizon claims that the open-access requirement is unconstitutional. The open-access conditions required by the FCC require that bid winners of the 700 MHz analog spectrum must allow consumers to connect to it with any application software or mobile device.
As the wireless carrier rules currently stand in the U.S., the network signal carriers control access to their bandwidth, the models of cell phones that are compatible with/can access their network and also the software that can be accessed and downloaded (e.g., ring tones) onto those mobile phones. The wireless carriers want to limit all aspects of the spectrum as much as possible for obvious business competition reasons.
Google, who is rumored to be considering entering the wireless carrier market with its own wireless phone(s), supports open-access standards and has petitioned the FCC to support this standard for U.S. consumers and as a means to increase competition among wireless carriers. Google has also asked the FCC to ask for more rules pertaining to the open-access standards so that network availability to consumers is kept at affordable prices and so that consumer options will be guaranteed after the spectrum is sold off.
Google is also rumored to be one of the major players bidding for portions of the 700 MHz spectrum in January.