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700MHz Internet to give real choices: FCC

updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue July 10, 2007

700MHz Cell Access at FCC

A new FCC proposal could prevent the carrier lock-in that plagues US cellphone access, argues the agency's chairman Kevin Martin. The FCC head is set to propose that any wireless service using the 700MHz frequency being abandoned by analog TV must give customers the option of using any device and any "mobile broadband application" on the network. This choice would prevent cellphone carriers or Internet providers from carrying exclusive handhelds that only work with one service or deliberately throttle Internet phone calls to force use of more profitable cell services. Such artificial limits "hamper innovations," Martin says.

"I am concerned that we are seeing some innovations being rolled out more slowly here than we are in other parts of the world," he adds, pointing out that cell and Wi-Fi hybrid phones are more common in Europe and elsewhere but have only just come to the US through T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home. Europeans in particular are also more likely to pay attention to phones since they are typically unlocked in the region, making the attachment to the device more important than the network it uses.

A commonly-cited example of the American problem is the iPhone, which AT&T insisted must be exclusively available on its network for multiple years. An unlocked version would support AT&T's rival T-Mobile and would be more easily portable to Canada and Europe, where it could function with few if any changes.

Internet-related providers have so far backed the FCC proposal in principle, with Google and others hoping that a truly open network will let them develop hardware and software that can take advantage of easily accessible mobile broadband. The 700MHz band is especially desirable as the frequency covers a larger distance than EVDO, WiMAX, or other high-speed cell technologies.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    0

    More whining?

    Doesn't take much to figure out who lobbied the FCC for this kind of proposal. However, I wouldn't be too upset of a change like this personally, but this is america. Government regulation isn't supposed to bust in on private deals such as the one between Apple and AT&T unless it truly was a monopoly (which it is not).

    Let's stick to laizze-faire economics, shall we?

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006

    0

    Nanny State Tards

    Apple has every right to enter into an exclusive agreement with anyone they want!

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004

    0

    FCC

    The FCC needs to stop worrying about the iPhone and open up frequencies faster so we can get up to speed with other nations. We invented the internet and cell technologies and trail the planet in their implementations.

  1. Mixotic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    FCC Gets it RIGHT!

    It appears that some of the other commenters missed the point of the article. This is actually a great thing to have the FCC come down on the side of consumers and not big business. What MR. Martin is saying is that the 700Mhz band would be open....completely open. Anyone would be able to use any device they want on any 700Mhz network without being locked in to one provider.

    This is the reason we have fallen behind in so many areas, especially mobile technologies. Southeast Asia is still years ahead in their adoption and use of the mobile internet infrastructure and it' about time someone at the FCC took notice and suggested a solution.

  1. Mixotic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    the iPhone/AT&T deal...

    ...is just an example of how, by making a choice of one company (Apple) they are forced into choosing another company (AT&T). This stifles competition because consumers are not able to choose a rival carrier if they want to use an iPhone.

    I, for one, would love to get an iPhone, but I won't until either AT&T upgrades their network, or the device becomes available on a competing high speed network.

    What the FCC is saying is that you shouldn;t be forced into making that choice, and should be able to choose a device and carrier independently.

  1. chadpengar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2001

    0

    Europeans have lock-in

    I don't know where this "Euopeans have unlocked phones" idea came from. You go to Germany or UK and sign up with T-Mobile or other provider and you will have a contract with usually a minimun of 24 months (ie, same as 2 years contracts here) in Germany or 12 or 18 months in UK and your phone will usually be locked to that carrier with carrier specific firmware (look at all the phone unlocking websites in Europe that will help you get rid of carrier specific firmware and the carrier lock). (Go look at www.t-mobile.de or www.t-mobile.do.uk or www.vodafone.co.uk).

    And in the US you can buy unlocked phones if you want. They cost more but they are available, and after your initial contract is over, most carriers will give you the unlock codes if you ask (sometimes you have to be persisten), otherwise Google can help you unlock your phone.

    Let's not spread misinformation here.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    free market cultists

    jesus christ, enough with this worshipping at the altar of 'laissez-faire'. That s*** went out the window 100 years ago and for good reason. When business has too much power, it stifles freedom, creativity, technology and progress just as surely as too much government regulation can.

    If the first two commenters think business should be able to do whatever it wants, then I would like to know how they feel about net neutrality...

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    by the way...

    even if one worships the false god 'laissez-faire', the concept does NOT include the right to do whatever you want, regardless of what the law says. And the law in this country is that the electromagnetic spectrum is owned by we the people. Therefore the FCC has every right to regulate its use on behalf of we the people.

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