D stands for slightly desperate

The FCC released a notice yesterday asking many questions – they boil down to something like “How on earth do we go on with the idea of a public-private partnership for the D Block?” Here’s the background::  As part of the structure of the 700 MHz auction that concluded recently, the Commission proposed that the licensee of 10 MHz of commercial spectrum within the 700 MHz range (paired blocks 758-763/788-793 MHz) (the “D Block”) enter into an agreement with the licensee of “public safety broadband spectrum” (763-768/793-798 MHz).  The idea…

Tying, subsidizing, and IMS

In response to my post a couple of days ago about the possibility that VZ might not plan to comply with the 700 MHz “open platform” rules, someone wrote: would you have the FCC mandate that every mobile device must be capable of running every operating system? If Verizon sells me a BlackBerry, should the device allow me to install Android, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, or Symbian OS? Obviously, Google believes the answer is yes (they will make the most money if they can install their OS on every device)….

700 MHz Update: Will VZ comply with the rules?

Last Friday (HT::  IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those “open platform” requirements for the C Block really mean.  Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won’t be subject to the “open applications” and “open handsets” requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn’t plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big.  Here’s the background. In the 700 MHz auction rules, the Commission noted that public…

Why Block C matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction – and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas—12 licenses, each covering a “Regional Economic Area Grouping”. Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? Context. The 700 MHz…

700 MHz C block reserve price met

This is big – Blair Levin’s Stifel Nicolaus report is saying that the reserve price of $4.6 billion has been met for the C Block. For the upper band C Block, the FCC mandated that any winning licensee have in place “no locking” and “no blocking” provisions conditioning its use of this spectrum: Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network, except: (1)…

700 MHz and the D block

I want to applaud Harold Feld for writing energetically about what has happened to the planned public-private partnership for creating a dedicated public safety network.  Key post is here. The FCC paired the upper band D block (a single 10 MHz nationwide license) with 10MHz of public safety spectrum located next to the D block, and conditioned the D block license on an obligation to negotiate with public safety representatives towards the construction by the D block licensee of a nationwide public safety network. :  The idea was that a robust,…

700 MHz auction time

There was a mock auction today just to test the equipment for submitting bids.  The real thing is on Thursday beginning at 10am. Chairman Martin has been urged to let the auction for Block D (the public-private partnership) play out.  Given the roiling stock markets around the world and the high reserve prices that the FCC set, it’s unlikely that the reserve prices will be met – particularly the $4.6 billion reserve price for Block C, the block for which mild no-locking, no-blocking requirements were drafted.  If that block doesn’t…

Three developments

1. More passive content from network providers. Comcast announced that it’s going to be providing 3,000 high-definition video-on-demand programs for subscribers to its highspeed Internet access services. “Comcast is the largest purchaser of TV content and now we are bringing that content over to the Internet” [Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, at CES today] Comcast is also confidently predicting that the PC will become “a full cable TV client” in the future. Dirk van der Woude pointed me to a Wall Street analyst, Douglas McIntyre, who doesn’t think Comcast’s plan makes…

Don’t forget the Skype petition

Back in February 2007, when we were all much younger, before anyone could have imagined that Google and Verizon would be battling each other over just how “open” they wanted the internet to be…Skype filed a petition [pdf] with the FCC. This petition became a proceeding with a number (RM-11361). (To look at everything filed under the proceeding, go to www.fcc.gov, go to “search” on the upper right, go to “Search for Filed Comments – EFCS,” and fill in the top “Proceeding” box with RM-11361.) The Skype petition suggested that…

Verizon and Google

It was pointed out to me today that, notwithstanding all the good-vibes PR over the last few days, (1) Verizon will still be selling crippled-but-subsidized phones in its retail outlets (so who will choose an open device?) and (2) Verizon will still be able to charge content providers/application providers differential fees for use of its wireless network. Given these points, it’s hard to get too excited about the Verizon announcement, which was really designed as… a signal to Google: “Don’t bother with getting involved in the 700 MHz auction –…

The self-regulatory two-step

Self-regulation is a great move to forestall legislation. “Here,” you can say, “we’ve solved your problem. We don’t have all the details yet, but we’re making progress. Don’t try to write rules for this markeplace – you’ll just make mistakes and embarrass yourself. Let us help consumers by doing it ourselves.” The second step of this particular dance is enforcement – in the form of results that real people can understand. We don’t have all the details of the first Verizon self-regulatory step yet. A lot will depend on how…

Verizon Volte-face

So this morning my communications law class was earnestly discussing the 700 MHz auction rules when, suddenly, one of the students lifted his head from his screen and said, “Verizon just announced they’re opening everything up!” (I’m always a fan of internet access in the classroom, and this gives me a good story to use with other teachers. “See, it’s useful, not just a distraction.”) We immediately started discussing why Verizon is doing what it’s doing. And the context was clear, because it was the subject of the class: it’s…