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AT&T Slams Google Over Open-Access Wireless 214

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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  • 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 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 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].

  • 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 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.
  • Re:Redundant (Score:1, Informative)

    by Zer0Her0 ( 112976 ) on Friday July 13, 2007 @03:02PM (#19851897) Homepage
    It wouldn't surprise me if they already have a roadmap in place for rolling out a VoIP service, especially since they just bought Grandcentral [grandcentral.com]
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Informative)

    by mmeister ( 862972 ) on Friday July 13, 2007 @04:27PM (#19852779)
    While that may be true geographically. Population wise, *new* Europe represents about 2x the size of the US.

    Actually, the difference is that European officials mandated interoperability and pushed for 3G. Here, our Congress pushes for whatever is in the best interest of AT&T, Verizon, or Comcast. And those companies are looking to maximize profits with as small of an investment as possible.

    Since most folks don't have a lot of choice: be it cable where you choices are between Cable and uh, nothing if you're not close enough to DSL ; or wireless where you are locked into a contract for 2 years and the contract is automatically extended anytime you make ANY change. The result is there is no driving force behind getting end users true broadband. Also, it doesn't help that our gov't defines broadband as something like 200Kbps.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court