FCC OKs auction rules for unlocked phones, applications
Public-private network for emergency communications also envisioned
Computerworld - The Federal Communications Commission today approved rules for a planned 700-MHz auction that provide for unlocked phones and applications but do not require bidders to provide wholesale wireless services.
In addition, the rules set a requirement for part of the spectrum to create a public-private partnership for interoperable communications for public safety organizations nationwide.
The commission discussed the rules publicly for nearly two hours, voting 4-1, with Commissioner Robert McDowell "dissenting in part," as he put it. McDowell wanted fewer restrictions on potential bidders, saying that large companies might not bid on parts of the spectrum encumbered by rules for open access, meaning they could bid on other portions that are "unencumbered" and push out smaller companies from the bidding.
The four commissioners in the majority were Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Copps and Deborah Tate.
The four in the majority said that they would have preferred a government-funded approach to a national interoperable network for public safety but said that a private-public partnership would be the next best approach. They noted it has been nearly six years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when public safety organizations could not communicate easily and added that it is time to take action.
When the spectrum auction occurs in January as planned, it is expected to raise about $10 billion to $20 billion for the U.S. Treasury. The 700-MHz band is being freed up because of the advent of digital television, freeing up analog Channels 52 to 69 on Feb. 17, 2009. Martin said many of the requirements envisioned in the auction rules could not be implemented by winning bidders until 2010.
Martin championed unlocked phones and applications, which would enable consumers to buy cell phones and applications that could be used with any wireless carrier. He held up two identical Nokia Corp. phones that he said demonstrated the problem with the way certain applications are sometimes restricted. One sold in the U.S. by carriers bans use in Wi-Fi zones, while the other, sold in Europe, allows use in Wi-Fi zones. The unlocked phone and application provision would allow use of hardware and applications across a portion of the newly allocated 700-MHz spectrum.
Tate said the vote in favor of the rules was a "very close call" for her. Among several items, Tate said she is concerned with keeping the public safety network that is created "properly protected." "None of us would want an e911 call not to be made because it couldn't find its way through a stream of movie" or other wireless content, she added.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!