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)….

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…

Giving way to the web world

Congratulations to Public Knowledge for leading the way (gathering together Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, EDUCAUSE, Free Press, Media Access Project and U.S. PIRG) and asking the question::  Why should wireless carriers be permitted to discriminate in their allocation of short codes?:  Their filing is here. It’s a clever piece of work, this filing, saying, in effect, “We think that short codes (and provision of text messaging services generally) should be treated as Title II, common carriage, services.  But even if they’re not, you can apply the nondiscrimination obligations…

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…

Monetizing disorder

Remember Sitefinder? I still have my notes from a session four years ago that was led by Steve Crocker. VeriSign (the registry operator for .com and .net) introduced a change in the way .com/.net operated. A misstyped domain would return the address of a host that was one of VeriSign’s own instead of an error message. There was considerable pushback from the community. VeriSign quickly suspended the service. The generic name for what VeriSign was doing was a “wildcard.” Before SiteFinder was implemented, if you typed the name of a…

Three updates

Three stories moved forward today: 1. Verizon dropped its legal challenge to the 700 MHz auction rules. I have a feeling they’ve decided that there are ways to work around [link to post giving work-around clues] the no-locking, no-blocking conditions that the FCC established. Plus VZ doesn’t want to be the bad guy, charged by Congress with delaying the auction. They’ve got bigger problems on their hands given the NARAL flap and the fact that… 2. Comcast admitted “delaying” traffic on its network. I learned today that EFF had been…

Interfaces

You may remember that in March 2006, when the FCC had only four commissioners, a Verizon petition to have all common-carriage-type requirements lifted from its relationships with businesses was “deemed granted” by the Commission’s silence — split 2-2, the Commission said nothing by the deadline for action on that petition. This non-action was part of a steady, incremental removal of rules from highspeed access in the U.S. that is still going on. There were a couple of news items recently that relate to this subject. First, the D.C. Circuit today…