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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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  • 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 ) <> 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?

  • 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?!?!?
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday July 13, 2007 @12:48PM (#19850307) Journal

    "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by asphaltjesus ( 978804 ) on Friday July 13, 2007 @01:14PM (#19850631)
    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 upstart bought frequency spectrum no one dreamed about using and put it to good use. Subsequently the major player in whatever industry the upstart drives the upstart out of business then gets the FCC to take the spectrum away.

    With the influence they've paid for, this is probably the most practical course of action.
  • 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!
  • Re:Showdown (Score:3, Interesting)

    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 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."

  • 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.
  • arms race (Score:3, Interesting)

    by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <> on Friday July 13, 2007 @05:46PM (#19853541)

    I agree in theory, but if the FCC didn't regulate the airwaves, then it would be too easy for your competition to just jam you. Or else, everyone would try to use the same frequencies and the end result would be that nobody could use anything.

    Actually broadcasters, those who use the airwaves, would eventually come up with an agreement on how to alocate the airwaves. If there wasn't an agreement it would lead to an arms races driving their costs skyward which would bankrupt them. If I recall right IEEE's Spectrum [] had an article on this last year, I didn't find it online but it may just of been in print. They do have another article on The End of Spectrum Scarcity [] though. It goes over some of the same stuff.


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