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Verizon sues FCC over 700MHz open access terms

updated 10:55 am EDT, Fri September 14, 2007

Verizon Sues Over 700MHz

Verizon late Thursday revealed that it was contesting the FCC's rules for the upcoming 700MHz wireless auction through a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, potentially sabotaging the bidding process. The rules, which demand that companies allow open access to devices and software on the frequency when it becomes available in early 2009, were labeled "arbitrary" and "capricious" by Verizon, which has typically preferred a model that locked customers to its own cellphones and services. The provider's specific legal case accused the FCC of violating the US Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act by imposing the open-access rule on the auction, preventing Verizon and others from using their own business models.

This rule set is "unsupported by the substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law," Verizon said in a statement.

Verizon's actions appear to be a contradiction of its previous stance, where it tentatively supported the auction rules as they seemingly did not interfere with its existing business models. The company also stands in direct opposition to views expressed by AT&T, Nokia and Google, all of whom have said they agree an open spectrum for wireless is essential to more competitive services that might use the 700MHz band for high-speed Internet access. Google itself issued a response to Verizon's move, accusing the provider of trying to avoid competition through legal tactics.

"The nation's spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belong to all Americans. The FCC's auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers--for the first time--to use their handsets with any network they desire, and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice," according to Google telecom and media counsel Richard Whitt. "It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services. Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics."

If the lawsuit does not significantly delay the bid, the auction would take place in mid-January 2008 and would give the winner roughly a year to prepare devices and services.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    0

    weak

    what do you expect from Verizon -- the carrier that cripples cellphones sold for its network so they can get more moeny from their unknowing users? IF they have their way, it would be

    $3 to $4 for each ring tone, $40/month for web access, $40/month for voice calls, $0.50 to send each MMS or the equivalent of email containing a picture which works with MMS, and $$$ more fees for this and that...

  1. ttrostel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    So don't bid!

    They haven't purchased anything yet anyhow. I fail to see how if they are given the rules upfront they can squabble. There seem to be plenty of other folks who are quite happy to live by the rules proposed for the auction.

    If you don't like the license terms of a product or service you HAVE NOT PURCHASED OR AGREED TO do you really have any rights to take them to court?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    un constitutional

    It is unconstitutional to provide bidding opportunities on previously unavailable stuff if that stuff isn't specifically setup the way I want it.

    Since i'm required by law to bid on this thing, and since everyone else is holding a loaded and cocked gun to my temple, you have to make the offering as restrictive for everyone else as I deem fit.

    Okay?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    un iversal

    Are they a spin off from the record industry?

  1. BelugaShark

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    s**** verizon

    who has such a "proprietary" signal and crappy-phones.

  1. BelugaShark

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    if verizon was government

    they'd shut-down ebay

  1. cblackmo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006

    0

    Verizon vs. Oxford dict.

    Last time I checked, "capricious" meant "sudden or unaccountable action".

    The FCC rules are not sudden - the bidders have known the rules for a while now. And the FCC rules are not unaccountable - the FCC's multi-platform approach isn't only easy to understand, but would be the obvious preference of consumers.

    So is the FCC being capricious? According to Webster and Oxford, no! Is the FCC being unlawful? well thanks to money-hoarding law firms - that part gets to be debated.

    So either the execs at Verizon are idiots and don't know how to read a dictionary; or this is some sort of legal plot to delay the bidding and buy time. Or both. The question is - buy time for what? Gathering more money to outbid everyone? Sabotaging the bidding in some other way?

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