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AT&T Slams Google Over Open-Access Wireless 214

Posted by Zonk
from the wham-wham-wham dept.
Robert writes with a CBROnline article on AT&T's objection to opening up a nationwide wireless spectrum. Their statement is made on the grounds that it will aid Google in their bid to get bargain-basement broadband prices. Google is just one company asking for open-access requirements on wireless signals; Skype, DirecTV, and EchoStar are others. From the article: "Yesterday, AT&T weighed in. In a letter to the FCC, AT&T said Google's "eleventh hour request" was self-serving because it would encumber licenses in the forthcoming auction 'with a laundry list of intrusive 'open access' requirements that would, perhaps, entice Google to participate in the auction. By its own admission, Google's request is intended to diminish the value of those licenses, thus preventing wireless service providers such as AT&T from bidding on them and clearing the path for Google to obtain them at below-market rates.' AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country."
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AT&T Slams Google Over Open-Access Wireless

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  • Yeah right (Score:5, Funny)

    by cromar (1103585) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:43PM (#19850247)
    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country.

    Isn't it good to know AT&T is looking out for us?
    • by Pointless-'IZ'-Us (932207) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:45PM (#19850267)
      Yeah. Stupid AT&T. Thank god Google is looking out for us.
      • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:53PM (#19851125)
        Neither of them is looking out for us. Google is no way doing this to make sure prices are low for broadband. They are doing it for profits and their shareholders. I would bet any benefit for users is temporary.

        Meanwhile, AT&T sees a lapse in the way they can gouge customers and don't like the potential hit to them. Plus it's another way they can slow down what they see as a major competitor.

        They are both looking out for themselves. Nobody else. Obviously if there aren't customers, they don't make money. That's the only thing that keeps either of them in line. But either of them would also squeeze you dry if they could. It's the American way.
        • But either of them would also squeeze you dry if they could. It's the American way.

          What a world worthy of pride have we built..
        • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:12PM (#19851371) Homepage Journal
          "Meanwhile, AT&T sees a lapse in the way they can gouge customers and don't like the potential hit to them. Plus it's another way they can slow down what they see as a major competitor."

          The thing is, it appears the way Martin has written his recommendation so far...that AT&T or Verizon, or anyone could buy one of the 6 geographical chunks...and block a nationwide competitive network. From the article:

          "Whether or not Google is readying to build a nationwide wireless network may be a moot argument. Martin's proposal reportedly contains provisions that would divide up the spectrum into six large geographic regions, rather than a single nationwide block. That would mean an incumbent operator could buy just one region to prevent such a network.

          There also, reportedly, is no language in the proposal that requires an auction winner to build a network at all. This means an incumbent could buy a regional spectrum merely as a way to block any such nationwide network."

          So, while this is all conjuncture at this point...there are some risks out there that could really blow it for the consumers in the US. I hope they do some serious thinking at the FCC before putting this out to bid...too bad the general public doesn't have a lobbiest we could all contribute to, to lobby for the general public's best interests!!!

        • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Friday July 13, 2007 @03:19PM (#19852087) Homepage Journal

          Neither of them is looking out for us. Google is no way doing this to make sure prices are low for broadband. They are doing it for profits and their shareholders. I would bet any benefit for users is temporary.
          Like the benefit from their text-only advertising on search results (something Slashdot posters claimed would be temporary years ago)?

          Like the benefit from their free mail service which gave users more storage than any other service on the market, forcing other vendors to improve their offerings?

          Like the benefit from their continued contributions to open source software projects over the years (in terms of developers, contributed code, contributed subsystems, advocacy, financial support, sponsored development, etc.)?

          How much more than every other company does Google have to do before folks like you will even notice? If we spent half as much time finding fault with AT&T, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
    • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Informative)

      by russ1337 (938915) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:01PM (#19850481)
      >>> ..open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars...

      Sure, some taxes might be lost during the SALE of those bands... but it would save the taxpayers TRILLIONS of dollars by providing a true level playing field which promotes competition and innovation instead of treating 'locked-in' customers like fish in a barrel.
      • by Nikker (749551)
        Don't you think it's funny that AT&T is so eager to point out the value of the spectrum that they have inflated over the years?

        Go get em Google!
      • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mmeister (862972) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:35PM (#19850895)
        Don't forget, AT&T also claimed it would: >>> ..inhibit the growth of wireless broadband n the country. I think AT&T (and ALL the other wireless carriers) have done a great job of that already. Considering that the US is pathetically behind in broadband connections (both wired and wireless) compared with most other industrialized nations, it is time for our Gov't to start acting on behalf of the people and not just the corporations. We pay the most money for the least amount of bandwidth. Instead, we have a disjointed high-speed connection (that is most often capped and limited), the broadband that is available isn't compatible with other carriers, so they duplicate the same work to lock us in. Europeans have an open-access 3G connection that doesn't lock you into one carrier AND they only charge you from outgoing calls (meaning you don't pay twice). If competition alone would have us at the same point, I say let it rule -- but the fact is that we, the end consumer, suffer because it's about maximizing short term profits. These are our airwaves and to keep them locked up like AT&T would like will only insure that our nation will fall far behind in today's information age.
    • by omeomi (675045)
      Isn't it good to know AT&T is looking out for us?

      Any time a corporation tries to state that less competition is better for the consumer, they're lying through their teeth.
      • Any time a corporation tries to state that less competition is better for the consumer, they're lying through their teeth.


        My favorite is when they try to pass off their monopoly as "competition." Lately there have been ads on Comcast talking about how "When cable companies compete, you win." Uhh, yeah, except none of them are competing. They've carved out their niches and they guard them very carefully.
        • by nelsonal (549144)
          The exception is of course when with competition no one would offer the service. Some services are not worth offering. ie under perfect competition dense urban communities would have multiple cable companies offering very cheap cable services, but their more spread out neighbors would have 1 or no choices. The only winners there are the construction workers who lay the stuff and content producers (who would effectively recieve split of the profits of the cable system).
  • Is there any reason why Google just doesn't get in on the auction? I'd love to see a more tech minded wireless company competing against Verizon and AT&T.
    • by twitter (104583) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:08PM (#19850555) Homepage Journal

      But the auctions have serious flaws that allow the incumbents to rig them. Google is trying to reduce ATT and Verizon's ability to co-operate and screw others like Google. It would lower the price of spectrum to something more like a free market value. What you have now is more like a monopoly price from the people who fought tooth and nail against analog modems. I can correct the assertion of ATT reps to make it more like reality:

      By its own admission, Google's request is intended to diminish the value of those licenses, thus preventing wireless service providers such as AT&T from bidding on them and clearing the path for Google to obtain them at below-racket rates.

      A fair auction is in everyone's best interest.

      A better system would completely eliminate government interference, because it there is not spectrum scarcity and it's regulation no longer serves a purpose [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by asphaltjesus (978804)
      Because Google has not paid enough to the right K Street people and contributed enough to the campaigns of everyone working telco committees and their hires within government to *win* a bid.

      Google can out-bid AT&T all they want. What happens if a telco loses is the auction is, at some point, declared null and void. So they can go in with barrels full of cash, win the auction then spend the next 25 years in court with AT&T while the spectrum they won languishes.

      There are a number of cases where an
    • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:15PM (#19850643)
      google won't bid unless they can get "lots" of channels across the country. If they're biding say 20 channels per market, Google would like the FCC to make 3-4 channels have a franchise across ALL the markets. For example then gooogle would bid on the lot of "channel 1" in every market at once. Google is interested in devices, not "phone" that scares the bejeebers out of the phone companies.
      Google also wants provisions for national "open" channels if they can't get a nationwide one. That way a group of small people could buy them up for a "community" network and be able to mass-market devices without corporate interference. In effect Google is asking for what would amount to "wireless internet". It's right there, the FCC could create a wireless, pervasive, on good frequencies with high end spread-spectrum like wireless "n" uses.. on a national scale! It's too bad this is all going on in board rooms, it could be the biggest public sector news story not being reported!
  • Yeah Sure (Score:4, Funny)

    by Soporific (595477) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:45PM (#19850269)
    Google sucks because AT&T smells like roses and shits rainbow sherbet.
  • Redundant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jaaay (1124197) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:46PM (#19850277)
    Practically every company is trying to oppose anything Google does since it's a risk for them. Google has a cash cow with adsense similar to what MS has with Office/Win... with billions of $ in unused cash AT&T probably thinks with some justification it's only a matter of time before they get bored and move in on their markets with some VOIP services that could hurt their core business.
  • ahem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:47PM (#19850279) Homepage Journal

    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country.

    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive AT&T of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of AT&T in this country.

    Anything that's bad for AT&T is probably good for everyone else. I know that comes off a bit prejudiced but Ma Bell pt. II is alive and well in this country. (Love the kinder, gentler death star logo, too.)

    I know that google is just another corporation, but honestly, does anyone believe they're more 'evil' than AT&T?

    • by PingSpike (947548)
      Is that really possible? Perhaps google is pretending to be good in its quest for world domination...but we *know* AT&T is just trying to ass rape us. I'll take my chances with the new guy, if I have any choice.
      • Let's deal with one evil corporate power at a time. Right now, AT&T is the single biggest enemy of affordable, consumer-friendly communications in the United States.
        • by megaditto (982598)
          You 'deal' with them by pitting them against each-other, yet not letting either one of them win, and even making it easier for the new guys to join the 'fight.' When these companies compete, the prices go down, the services and innovations go up, and everybody wins!

          Someone mentioned the word Trillions earlier on, and I believe this is just at the lower end of how much the consumers will lose if the current spectrum assignment model persits.
  • oh noes! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:47PM (#19850289)
    Heaven forbid that people can have access to bargain basement cost wireless access, or god forbid...FREE INTERNET ACCESS! Why...why...that would cut into AT&T's profit margins! We can't have that, now can we?!?!?
  • Showdown (Score:5, Funny)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:48PM (#19850293) Homepage
    Evil monopolistic empire vs. evil all knowing empire. This is gonna be entertaining!

    We lose either way of course. Capitalism rocks.

    .
    • That doesn't really make sense. Google can only obtain personal data if you give it to them. If you're so uncomfortable with that, simply decline the offer of free wireless internet. Monopolies by definition don't give you that choice of using an alternative.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bladesjester (774793)
        Google can only obtain personal data if you give it to them.

        No, they can obtain it if *anyone* happens to give it to them, and it doesn't even have to be accurate. There are a lot of cases out there of some person getting mad at some other person and posting all sorts of unplesant, untrue things about that person online causing them to show up when people search for the affected person.
    • by twitter (104583) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:13PM (#19850617) Homepage Journal

      We lose either way of course. Capitalism rocks.

      Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Google is absolutely angelic next to ATT and friends. Really though, the problem is not capitalism so much as it is corporate government interference. There would not be a problem if auctions were not rigged or did not exist to begin with. [slashdot.org]

      • by GeffDE (712146) on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:18PM (#19851435)
        I hate this about /.

        Capitalism is basically financial engineering: figure out a way to get "the most buck for your bang/product." In a lot of instances, the most cost-effective way to do that is to rig the playing field in your favor. Capitalism is premised on a Free Market; however, once a company is successful beyond a point, it gains the power to tie up the Invisible Hand (with monopoly practices, collusion, government interference, subsidies, etc.) and thereby destroy the Free Market*, which is how they rig the playing field in their favor. It is actually in the best interests of a corporation to not have a free market. They all want captive markets where they can wring as much profit as possible. Capitalism is the problem because it is capitalism that brought about corporate government interference in an effort to maximize profits. The other problem is that corporations do not give a fig about consumers (beyond the fact that they must be kept happy enough to keep consuming); it is, however, the government's sworn and bounden duty to protect its citizens, at least according to the principles espoused by John Locke, whose thinking, coincidentally, greatly influenced the Founding Fathers of the US.

        I'm so sick of all this libertarian "The Government Scares Me" tripe. The government scares me too, but when I look at what's bad in the government, it has all been brought about by powerful lobbies, the vast majority of which are corporations or industry groups. Those scare me so much more because in this day and age, they are (almost) effectively puppet-masters.


        However, I completely agree that this problem wouldn't exist if we didn't have auctions or we had completely fair auctions. And also that Google is much much better than AT&T. It's just the tired, fallible libertarian claptrap that gets to me. I'm sorry for venting on you; believe me, it's not personal.

        *As an aside, I find it ironic that /.ers don't like invisible hands that Create or Intelligently Design things, but are downright chummy with other invisible hands.
        • That's because one "invisible hand" is a poorly-constructed 18th-century metaphor for emergent systems, and the other "invisible hand" is a God who's evidently too stupid to think of creating evolution.
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      Capitalism rocks.
      Google senses that.... you are correct! [googlefight.com] Ding ding ding! Dweet dweet! Win win win win!!!111
  • Only in corporate newspeak could bargain basement broadband prices be a bad thing.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peacefinder (469349) <alan...dewitt@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:48PM (#19850299) Journal
    "[...] an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars [...]"

    Speaking as a taxpayer, it seems to me that a nationwide open-access spectrum would be a very worthwhile thing to get by forgoing those "billions of dollars".

    (Nice to see that AT&T is looking out for my interests, though.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Speaking as a Internet user, it seems to me that any kind of telecom open-access is desirable. But telcos like AT&T have always opposed sharing their "last-mile" links. They've resisted being forced to share their telephone lines with independent DSL providers; they've resisted sharing their CATV cables with independent ISPs, and now they're resisting sharing their wireless spectrum. Business as usual.

      Their argument is that the government will get more money if we give them a monopoly. Which is certainl
    • That was my first thought, too. You're talking about a nation with a budget of, what, a couple trillion dollars a year? If they're implying that keeping our future nationwide wireless internet access open will cost a couple billion, I'd say that's the most worthwhile couple billion dollars our government could spend.

      Hell, I bet lots of aspects of our economic and social freedom "costs" us billions of dollars every year. I, for one, wouldn't choose to sell that freedom for a mere couple billion dollars.

    • Then release many more channels in a second auction. Of course that won't happen.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:48PM (#19850307) Journal
    oxidize

    "The one-size-fits-all mentality that characterizes open access regimes for the wireless industry would begin the process of stifling innovation and creativity in our industry," Verizon Wireless general counsel Steven Zipperstein said to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Zipperstein said that while congress and the FCC had been "barraged" with requests to regulate the spectrum with open-access requirements, there is no evidence of how the current closed wireless market has failed consumers.
    Funny how proponents of deregulation don't want truly open markets.

    And then he has the gall to claim that the oligopoly of telecoms has not failed consumers.
    • Not that I keep up on the telecom industry that much but what innovation have we seen from ATT lately? Other then the fact that they seem to be buying up smaller telecoms and essentially reasserting their monopoly I haven't seen a lot about them in the news lately.

      Like it or not we have Verizon at least developing and pushing FIOS but what R/D is ATT doing that will suffer so much if people have more and better access to wireless?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        what innovation have we seen from ATT lately?

        Oh, I think their argument against Google was fairly innovative - oh, sorry, you meant technological innovation.

    • Funny how proponents of deregulation don't want truly open markets.

      Of course not. They simply want fewer rules which apply to them so they can squeeze more money out of the consumer. Open markets just cut into profits and force them to compete on quality instead of having a monopoly.

      Cheers
  • Summation (Score:5, Funny)

    by BooRolla (824295) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:49PM (#19850319)
    Dear Congress,

    Please do not allow others to compete in communications. We are a monopoly and like it.

    Sincerely,
    AT&T
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by metlin (258108)
      You forgot:

      PS: Attached is a check for a $LARGE amount of money and some wine for our buddies at the NSA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikelieman (35628)
      Dear Congress,

      Don't make us release the contents of your cellphone calls, landline calls, internet usage, and emails. STFU and do as you're told.

      Your Master,
      AT&T
  • From the article: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QCompson (675963) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:53PM (#19850371)

    "The one-size-fits-all mentality that characterizes open access regimes for the wireless industry would begin the process of stifling innovation and creativity in our industry," Verizon Wireless general counsel Steven Zipperstein said...

    This is the same BS talk that these telecoms use in the net neutrality debate. "Innovation" and "creativity" seem to be the new corporate-speak for "monopolize" and "profit".
  • Selfserving much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:53PM (#19850373) Homepage Journal

    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country.
    Yes, it would deprive us tax payers billions of dollars paid out by companies that we have little/no choice about buying services from, which they will just bill us for anyways. 6 one way, 1/2 dozen the other, either way the average Joe citizen will pay for it, the only question is which company will profit from it. And right now the choices appear to be AT&T, or everyone else. Personally, I'm willing to bet we will see more competition, better products and services, and lower prices if we let everyone else fight for it instead of giving it to AT&T to sit on and prevent competition.

    -Rick
    • by Renraku (518261)
      If AT&T gets their wish and ends up paying for their privilige, the cost will be passed on to us, as consumers. It always is and always has been. We will pay more to ensure that we stay with their company and their dirty ways.

      We will fucking PAY to keep AT&T on top, whether we like it or not.
  • AT&T A Cursed Name? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Conception (212279) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:53PM (#19850383)
    So... when I first signed up with Cingular, like 10 years ago, they were a pretty good company with flexible policies and good plans, I have the same plan as when I signed up in fact and you still can't beat it today. All in all, while they were cingular they didn't do anything too evil.

    But within like 3 weeks of them becoming AT&T they've turned into AT&T. Bad service, bad policies, bad politics. It's like the AT&T trademark requires a company to be assholes and give out terrible service.

    I don't get it. Cingular wasn't like this last year, or at least they were so blatant about it.
    • But within like 3 weeks of them becoming AT&T they've turned into AT&T. Bad service, bad policies, bad politics. It's like the AT&T trademark requires a company to be assholes and give out terrible service.

      You got that right. That's why we call them Assholes Through & Through.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      It's like the AT&T trademark requires a company to be assholes and give out terrible service.

      They like to call it a perk, not a requirement. :-P

      Cheers
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@NOSpam.kc.rr.com> on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:59PM (#19850443) Homepage
    AT&T forgot to mention how open access would increase competition and reduce their stranglehold on the market. We have been down this path before when AT&T was broken up, anyone old enough to remember having to essentially rent your phone from Ma Bell? AT&T and SBC managed to gobble up Ameritech, Southwestern Bell, Pacific Telesis, Bell Shouth and after merging themselves we are right back were we started, yet they have the nerve to call Google's request self-serving. Maybe its time for the FCC to wake up and realize that open access isnt going to inhibit growth, it will enhibit AT&T's version of growth which has always been expand and strangle out competition in markets they want to be in and own enough spectrum to make expansion into area's they may not even see as worthwhile difficult for anyone else to grab a foothold in.
    • Nothing essential about it - You actually had to rent y our phone from AT&T. The phone had a stamp on the bottom that said "Property of AT&T" and private ownership was effectively illegal - since the only way to get one was to buy it from AT&T and they weren't selling any. They used to charge you for EACH phone in your house, and there was a small black market in illegal phones that people used to avoid the "extra extension" fee.
  • by maroberts (15852) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:00PM (#19850465) Homepage Journal
    ...are very good at avoiding handing over billions of dollars to taxpayers. I seem to remember companies like Microsoft have avoided doing so through clever balance sheet manipulation.
  • AT&T is whinning because it and the two other dominant mobile carriers will no longer be able to charge exhorbitant amounts for service. What Google is doing will not inhibit mobile broadband growth but greatly increase it. AT&T is really saying that it will be unable to compete with Google's rates.
    • 1 channel of nationwide wireless + dark fiber?

      That's pretty scary for AT&T that Google could wipe out their business model in a few months!!
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:07PM (#19850533)
    people wouldn't work so hard to find wireless alternatives. AT&T has a nice idea with their U-verse service (Internet and IPTV) but they choked it by going with FTTN (Fiber To The Node, existing copper to the home) so there's only enough bandwidth to watch 1 HDTV channel at a time and Internet access tops out at 6M/1M. They're going to have to come back and put in fiber in a few years anyhow so why not get it right the first time?

    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars

    AT&T's just cranky that the feds extorted $billions from them and the rest of the cellphone companies in prior spectrum auctions and it wouldn't be fair if everyone else didn't get screwed just as hard. Actually, they have a point. I only take issue with the pretension that taxpayers aren't ultimately paying for that spectrum in higher service bills.

    I'd like to see that 700MHz spectrum opened up using 2.4GHz spectrum rules and skip the auction bit entirely, but there are certainly good alternatives to that. We don't necessarily need to set up the entire block of spectrum with the same rules. Maybe reserve an open chunk for directional antenna use only for fixed long-range wireless use?
  • by jimicus (737525) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:08PM (#19850553)
    No kidding. Google are a freaking company, every request they make will be self serving in some way, even if it's not immediately apparent why.

    Or perhaps AT&T would like to suggest that they provide telephone services out of the goodness of their black little hearts?
  • by Afell001 (961697) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:12PM (#19850599)
    OK, I am all for fair competitive practices. But right now, in this country, there is nothing fair or competitive about wireless broadband. You have large monopolistic companies working in tight collusion with one another, fixing the price of "air". What AT&T (and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, et al) are afraid of is someone (like Google) coming in over an "open" spectrum and offering the latest generation in broadband access without having to pay for legacy compatibility (ie, they don't have to maintain a network of antiquated technology just to service customers who are too cheap to upgrade). Just look at the standard wireless service model here in the US. If you want to access the latest generation of broadband, you have to buy the latest generation of phone and sign your name to a one or two year contract, since the wireless provider is obviously subsidizing the phone you are buy (obviously), because buying the phone from your wireless provider is prohibitively expensive unless you sign up or renew your contract, and if you do happen to buy one of those grey market unlocked phones you can find on the internet, you mysteriously don't have access to broadband through your wireless company, and they won't offer any support unless it's hardware you buy from them. Who is stifling innovation in the wireless broadband industry? The industry itself is stifling innovation under it's own model of capitalize once, and run it for profit until the public realizes they are getting peanuts at caviar prices compared to what they could be getting otherwise. This is why we are seeing emerging markets like Southeast Asia and China with better wireless networks than our supposedly developed US market. Stifling innovation? Why is Europe already using 3G technology and we have yet to roll out a comprehensive 2G technology in most major regions? Maybe it's about time to open up bandwidth to entrepreneurs who can make the wireless industry finally sit up and realize just how transparent their real intentions are.
  • >AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country.

    Yeah, well, if AT&T doesn't pay me $20897678937 per year for being a smart guy, they're depriving the employees of a bunch of airplane and bicycle companies *enormous* incomes, which is immoral and unethical. I'm sure AT&T will see the righteousness of this stance.

    If Google manages to get the value of licensed spectrum licences reduced, then at va
  • AT&T is like the RIAA of telecommunications: always behind the times, never wanting to change their business model, always trying to monopolize something.

    AT&T also said an open-access network would deprive AT&T of billions of dollars, and encourage the growth of wireless broadband in the country

    AT&T: fyp

    Your world, delivered... to the NSA
  • Goliath is getting angry. Brace yourselves, here comes the FUD!
  • AT&T whining (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:22PM (#19850729)
    I'm not a troll really, but this really sounds like AT&T is whining. If google can do it, make money, then their business plan is better. But from AT&T's point of view I can see why they are upset, and they are just trying to protect themselves.

    This is really about the same as MS embedding IE to kill off other companies who were solely browser developers (Netscape?).

    I think the big different here, and I may stand corrected, is that google isn't doing it as a lost leader to lock someone in, but to better their product. So if that's the case I support it. Only time will tell though as things roll out.

  • It smells like self-interest. Could it be that AT&T sees a chance to gouge consumers potentially fleeing?

  • If AT&T wants to bitch about frequency licenses, it should be stated that the first few "channels" on the wifi spectrum are actually licensed to HAM operators. Part of the 2.4ghz spectrum is for amateur radio use.
  • by dattaway (3088) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:28PM (#19850833) Homepage Journal
    since the head of the FCC is a former AT&T lobbying professional, I'm sure they will be able to see the evil in Google's willingness to compete and provide better services. Poor AT&T keeps facing new competitors every year. Its a tough playing field when other people keep bringing out new and better services. The FCC needs to put an end to Google's ideas and bring us back to the old telephone and online pricing models.
  • I am so dam tired (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperCharlie (1068072)
    I am so dam tired of seeing public interest sold to the highest bidder. (including payed for legislation) Look around.. everything that should be for the public good is bought, monopolized, and ends up milking the public. I dont even read the articles any more.. I just figure out who has the most money or who has paid the lobbyist the most and that decides the issue. Follow the money and you will find the answer. I guess thats capitalism. Yay.
  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:34PM (#19850887) Homepage Journal
    Black is white, up is down, left is right.

    If you want to know the true meaning of a corporation's PR or marketing, just translate it to the opposite of what they say.

    Fixed versions:
    "AT&T also said an open-access network would SAVE taxpayers of billions of dollars, and ENCOURAGE the growth of wireless broadband in the country."

    Easy.
    • I think the scariest part of your post was how eerily accjurate it is, no matter what PR release statement you apply it to (provided it comes from an Evil Company (tm)). Has Doublespeak really creeped up on us that quickly?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Some_Llama (763766)
        "Has Doublespeak really creeped up on us that quickly?"

        Well, as in all things, you have to consider the source.. what is the primary focus of PR and Marketing (the only 2 groups who actually are allowed to speak for a company)?

        PR is there to make a company's image more palatable or smooth over indiscretions. If people liked the company already or had no indiscretions then this would not be needed.. so it must be that PR is just lying to make a company look good.

        Marketing is to make people desire your produc
  • AT&T, the worlds longest running communications monopoly, doesn't want ANYONE to have free communication.

    Hold on while I give myself CPR.
  • by Darth Cider (320236) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:53PM (#19851121)
    Google states its position very clearly in its Public Policy Blog [blogspot.com].

    People here keep mentioning the cost of broadband, so here's a recent chart comparing costs worldwide [dailywireless.org]. (Example: 34 cents/Mbps in South Korea versus $10/Mbps in the U.S., if it's even available where you live, which is why Open Access really matters.)

    I relate the FCC's position to all the news about Dick Cheney a few weeks ago, how he relentlessly pressures political appointees who ought to be impartial. Could it be happening again?
    • by ewhenn (647989)
      I think a more meaningful example would be in (cost/average income). Sure, it's 34 cents per Mbps in Korea, but what about staffing costs, etc.
  • What???? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guspasho (941623) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:56PM (#19851157)
    So Google is asking to make the spectrum cheaper. And AT&T is complaining about that. Why? Nothing is stopping AT&T from competing in the auction. If they can compete in the auction for expensive spectrum they can compete in an auction for cheap spectrum. You know what this really sounds like? AT&T is whining because what Google is suggesting means that AT&T actually has to compete for a change.
  • Y'know, with all of these 'freedoms' that the people like and enjoy so much it must be difficult to make laws.
  • Inhibit? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slapout (93640) on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:10PM (#19851335)
    "inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country"?

    It didn't think it could get much more inhibitted than it already is.
  • by Control Group (105494) * on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:12PM (#19851365) Homepage
    Yesterday, AT&T weighed in. In a letter to the FCC, AT&T said Google's "eleventh hour request" was self-serving because [bleat, bleat, bleat]

    Google, you scamps.

    Say it ain't so! I'm ashamed of you. Do no evil, indeed. How can you not follow the example of fine, upstanding, generous, social-minded, humble, helpful, concerned, responsible, AT&T?

    AT&T - now there's who you should take your cue from. They've never had anything other than the general welfare and the good of the little guy in their warm, altruistic hearts. I can't believe the FCC would even deign to hear the recommendations of anyone else, since AT&T has proven time and time again that all they want - all they've ever wanted - is what's best for everyone, even at great peril to their bottom line.
  • by Chatham (1127743) on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:13PM (#19851385)
    Let us not forget that Google has been quietly constructing a massive network that would put most telecommunication companies to shame: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/s tory.html?id=0d0fa453-8a22-4dd0-b244-53f03146da8e& k=11216 [canada.com] Google just needs permission to illuminate all of that dark fiber.
  • How the hell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Friday July 13, 2007 @02:24PM (#19851515)
    .. does requiring their use to be done in an open manner prevent AT&T from bidding on them?

    That AT&T doesnt want to do anything open is THEIR problem, and if they choose to spurn new spectrum if that is part of their requirement then that is there choice.

    We, the public, WANT open access wireless, we WANT there to be healthy and robust competition

    Take the iPhone. Now why Apple chose to let it be locked (at least until its hacked) into AT&T only for service I dont know. But there is no question why AT&T wanted it. And as far as I'm concerned it reduces the desirablity of an iPhone to below zero (at least until its fully hacked, *maybe*[ becuase maybe I'd like to get a device that is supposed to be open, as opposed to one that had to be hacked to be so])

    AT&T (and Verizon, and all the other monopoly-bells, and hell Microsoft, and Yahoo[although they are in bed with AT&T anyway]) only whine about Google becuase Google might actually have the balls and the cash to do what people want, and to begin to put just the tiniest crack into the monopoly telecom and computing monopolies.

    And Google is NOT a monopoly. I cant think of any instance where one person (or company) choosing to use any of Google's services or products makes it impossible for someone else to communicate or do business with them to use anything other than Google (Im talking about proprietary non-standard undocumented MS file formats and network protocols here), nor are there any cases where Google has exclusive control over some critical resources that the existence of was financed by regulated non-competition (I'm talking about last mile copper here) that prevents anyone else from using it.
  • "Self serving" is a term that DEFINES at&t. was at&t spokesperson doing psychological projection or what ?
  • Ad Revenue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phildo420 (827619) on Friday July 13, 2007 @05:14PM (#19853237)
    Look at it this way --

    Google's goal is to get EVERYONE online, because they make revenue on search ads. If there are more people online, they get to charge more for ads. It must appear to them that providing internet access will cost less than the improved ad-income they will earn.

    AT&T, on the other hand, sells internet access -- not advertising space. All their income comes from the cost to join an infrastructure. They want to maintain barriers to entry that keep the industry a monopoly/oligopoly rather than a more open market.

    Ultimately -- both firms are looking out for their VIPs, the shareholders.

  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Monday July 16, 2007 @01:18PM (#19878209) Homepage
    If AT&T said, "deprive taxpayers of billions of dollars, and inhibit the growth of wireless broadband in the country." We know three things for sure:

    1) Taxpayers will make billions of dollars off of this plan.
    2) Wireless Broadband will explode across the country
    3) You will not pay 50% of your bill in fees.

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