(Chicago IL - August 1, 2007) On Tuesday, July 31, the Federal Communications Commission released ground rules for its 700 MHz spectrum auction.
Heartland Senior Fellow Steven Titch responds here to the regulations that will govern the sale. You may quote from this statement or contact Titch directly at 281-571-4322, email email@example.com, for further comment.
"The ambiguous rules the Federal Communications Commission has created for next year's auction of spectrum for wireless services will please no one.
"The wireless competition the FCC purportedly seeks would have stood a better chance if Chairman Kevin Martin had attached no conditions to the commercial portion of the 700 MHz spectrum auction and opened all portions of the band for bidding by all comers.
"Instead, Martin decided to dabble in market experimentation, requiring the winner of a 22 MHz block of the coveted spectrum to allow any phone, device, or application to work within that group of frequencies. Even then, Martin hedges, stating that this wireless network neutrality requirement is 'subject to certain reasonable network management conditions that allow the licensee to protect the network from harm.'
"In other words, if the network repeatedly crashes because too many users are downloading too many YouTube videos using devices not optimized for 700 MHz wireless systems, the licensee is free to return to more established bundled business models, which today assure that the device, the network, and the application work properly.
"Still, the FCC's lip service to wireless network neutrality gives momentum to those who seek to impose greater government regulation on the Internet, and who seek to impose these egregious and self-defeating rules, which address no real problem, on all Internet service providers."
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