Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Wireless Networking Businesses Communications Google The Internet Hardware

Google Nervous About Verizon's Open Access 116

Ian Lamont writes "Google is so worried about Verizon Wireless's commitment to open access using the 700Mhz spectrum that it has asked the FCC to get a pledge from Verizon that the carrier will honor the FCC's open-access conditions before the FCC sells it the band. Verizon won the auction for the nationwide C block of the 700MHz spectrum, but Google points to Verizon's alleged attempts to abandon the conditions, including a filing with the FCC which said the commission 'could not force the C block winner to allow all applications on the network.' Could this be another expanding front in the Net Neutrality battle, or is it time for the carriers to accept the fact that Net Neutrality is essentially a done deal, and carriers need to prepare for the next battle — developing software and services to run on open networks?" The IP Democracy blog has Google's filing (PDF) and the following comment from Verizon: "Google's filing has no legal standing."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Nervous About Verizon's Open Access

Comments Filter:
  • Nervous? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:50PM (#23307780)
    No, I think they just want Verizon to play by the rules.
  • by BoogeyOfTheMan ( 1256002 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:54PM (#23307818)
    But if someone at the FCC that isnt retarded (I know its a long shot) decides that that may be a good idea, then they may decide to implement that stipulation.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:58PM (#23307858)
    It would be wonderful if Net Neutrality is a "done deal". I am not quite so confident that it is over yet, but I can always hope.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:59PM (#23307864)
    Just get the FCC to state that if that block of spectrum is not open, Verizon loses the license, no money back.
  • Re:Round 1..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shadylookin ( 1209874 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:07PM (#23307918)
    I think round 1 was when google set the stipulations and then decided not to put a reasonable bid on the auction. Even though I would like for the spectrum to be neutral I definitely think it was a sucker punch on google's part
  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:08PM (#23307926)
    Google bid up this spectrum on purpose so that it would have to be sold for a minimum price that came with strings attached, while it had no intention of buying or developing it. It is interesting that they chose to place the burden of developing and maintaining the network infrastructure on someone else while they wait to reap the benefits of universal access.

    Consider a simple scenario - there is a nice lot on a lake, and if it sells for above certain amount, the buyer would have to provide right of way across his property. So, someone that has absolutely no intention of buying this property, but wants to get to walk across to the lake anytime (which he could not currently do as the property is not developed) bids it up until the price is right. You like the place and buy it anyway, but now you presumably have to let the other guy visit and hang around on your private beach whenever he likes. Wouldn't you try to either remove or limit such right of way from your property? Before you answer - think, be honest with yourself. I know I would.

    So, back to this - Google did not pay for the spectrum and it lost it's rights of complaining. If they are so much for open access - they should have spent their money and provide such access to all. Put up or shut up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:17PM (#23308012)
    I probably wouldn't have out bid the property if that bothered me that much. Not... buy it, then complain, and try to weasel out.
  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:21PM (#23308040) Journal

    Um, are you aware that the "open" provisions that were stipulated were only the "open devices" and "open applications" provisions, not the "open services" and "open access" that would have really created some competition?

    Those provisions hardly give Google a free ride. To look at it another way, Verizon knew the restrictions on the auction, and it bid anyway. If the spectrum wasn't worth that amount of money with the restrictions, they shouldn't have bid for it.

  • by Yhippa ( 443967 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:25PM (#23308058) Journal
    If Google won they would have had to pay the price for the spectrum. They somehow got the auctioneers to include the rule and everybody decided to play by that, including Verizon. How is that not fair? Bottom line--if Google won, they would have had to pay.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:33PM (#23308118) Homepage Journal
    That's a horrible analogy. I do not see it like you describe it at all. In this case, Verizon would be making money on the services, so it's not just about some other entity using the network for free, unless you're fine with an ISP charging both sides on a single client's connection. Just that they can't pick and choose what devices and apps are allowed to take advantage of the services.

    This was a condition of the bidding. Verizon did not have to bid. I would take it as more than a bit of bad faith if Verizon bid with no intention of upholding the conditions of the auction.
  • Re:Round 1..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:51PM (#23308224)
    I don't think it was a sucker punch really. They bumped the bid up there because that's what they wanted, but if they ended up getting "stuck" with it, they may have been a little upset, but I can guarantee you they would've come up with something to take advantage of it.
  • by RobBebop ( 947356 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:05AM (#23308300) Homepage Journal

    Wouldn't you try to either remove or limit such right of way from your property?

    I am going to tweak your argument and replace "a nice lot on a lake" with "a strip of land along the ocean". Frankly, this helps the argument because it is conceivable for men to build 3 mile long lakes in the right terrain for their own rich pleasures. Whereas, like the spectrum of bandwidth that Verizon bought, like oceanfront property, is a limited resource.

    Now... SHIT... I just spent $4 Billion dollar buying all this land! And I agreed when I bought it to play nice with my neighbors! Oh the horrors.

    But wait! I can rent surf boards, jet skis, and other resources that I can develop to my visitors. I can install a boardwalk so that when they come, they can win crappy prizes and overpay for hot dogs. I can build a resort and charge for all sorts of special services that my best customers want. I can do this [] and make it so 10x the people can enjoy my property.

    Oh sure, Donald Trump can build his own palm tree beaches on my property, but the people will want to visit MINE because I'll offer twice as many amenities. After all, I am the beachfront master and he is just a lowly chump who made some good investments in Midtown Manhattan. His properties in Atlantic City? He has the entire NYC metropolitan area to draw from and they still go to Vegas. What does *he* know about entertaining.

    Case in point... being the best is more than just having the most expensive toys. It is about creating the most value for your customers. If Verizon can't profit from the spectrum without the restriction that they KNEW they signed up, they don't deserve to be in business 5 years from now.

    And quite frankly, Google *was* ready to slap down $4 Billion and develop the network themselves. Had they won, you could rest assured that Verizon would be like AOL was 5 years ago... a struggling network provider without a clue about where it needs to invest to retain its customers. AOL is gone now. If Verizon gets their way, I will be switching to AT&T promptly and you can wait and see how long it takes before Google is valued at 5x what Verizon is so they can initiate a takeover/merger (they are currently only worth twice as much as Verizon).

  • Re:Legal Standing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:22AM (#23308402) Homepage
    Yes, the FCC gets its authority from Congress. See the Communications Act of 1934 [] and subsequent legislation.
  • by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:25AM (#23308424) Homepage Journal
    I do not think It will come to that. Mr Martin has enough people looking at him on both sides of the aisle about his clear preference towards telco that he may actually find it in his best interests to enforce this on Verizon Wireless.

    I think Verizon is scared that because they keep putting out crap for phones that their customers will take their money elsewhere and purchase them from Apple or whomever else has the hot item. Verizon has consistently ignored the younger segments of the market and now they're reaping the benefits of being ignorant.

    In todays mobile society the mobile phone is probably the utility that people will cling to. Get evicted you can still take your phone with you and it keeps working.

  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:26AM (#23308426) Homepage Journal
    Google needs to learn a few things about corporations psychology (applicable for any corporation).
    Larry Page needs to read a few pages from the book Corporation.
    1. Corporations are pathological liars. If they think they can get away with lying, they will continue to do so (like kids), until they are punished for it.
    2. Ethics and promises are applicable to grown-ups. Corporations are psychologically children (under 5 years). Hence ethics have no meaning to them. And so are promises. Suppose you promise a kid a huge bag of M&M to rat out what his mom & dad did last night, he would definitely do, since he can't understand the nuances. So are corporates.
    3. If they think they can lie to get something, they will do so, and once they get it, they will avoid doing what they promised. (Remember asking your kid to wash your car? [This does not apply to Australia where washing your car is a crime]).
    4. Corporations follow the basic of a child gameplay: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is also mine.
    5. Arguing with a child does not work. So does arguing with a corporation. Take for instance the recent open discussion about Net Neutrality and Throttling in which no corporations participated. After all which kid would like to attend a PTA in which he's being criticized?

    Rules of the game:
    1. Establish clear rules and punishments for good and bad behavior. By laws. Punish severely and reward generously. Quickly. A quick punishment establishes to a child that he cannot repeat the same behavior. if you are going to punish your kid tomorrow for what he did last week, there is no correlation. It confuses the hell out of a kid and the corporation.
    2. Never allow the kid (or corporation) to establish rules. That will lead to more wrongs.
    3. There are no grace periods or times. One strike and you are out.

    FCC here must clearly warn verizon that it is a contract. If they go back on it, their license is revoked with retrospective effect from 1990.
    Nothing scares a kid more than a dark room. For a corporation losing a license is like a dark room.
    Just delicense them and watch them shiver.
  • by drew ( 2081 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:41AM (#23308490) Homepage
    Regardless of whether the other guy ever had any intention of buying the lot or just wanted a free ride, "I" still knew the stipulations that were placed on the property when I made the bid, and "I" still felt the property was worth enough to warrant the price even with the restriction. The time for me to air that complaint would have been before the auction, not after I had beaten out several other bidders that had all agreed to the same terms and had chosen their bid amounts based on those conditions.

    Ignore the Google-guy for a moment and imagine that you were one of the other bidders on the property in question. Suppose that you had decided the property would ordinarily be worth a million dollars to you, but you decide that because of this stipulation you are only willing to bid 600k. Now some other person comes along and outbids you at 750k, and then decides he is going to ignore the stipulations anyway. Would you be a little pissed? According to you, you didn't pay for it, so you lost your right to complain.
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @12:48AM (#23308542)
    they should have bid higher on it.

    the telco's were terrifed of this sell off because it would challenge their hold on the last mile.

  • by uhlume ( 597871 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @02:23AM (#23309008) Homepage
    I'd trust the average five year-old over the average corporation any day.

    At least most five year-olds aren't actively trying to fuck you over.
  • Re:Round 1..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @02:31AM (#23309028)
    Google's highest bid was less than 100M away from the winning bid, an amount that represented a mere 2.1% increase.

    What makes 4.6B unreasonable and 4.7B reasonable? No one forced Verizon to bid 4.7B.
  • by qazwart ( 261667 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @07:37AM (#23310318) Homepage
    I never was completely happy with the format of the auction in the first place. The auction allowed a single carrier to be the "winner" of the entire spectrum. This didn't do anything but guarantee a monopolistic situation. Verizon has a big advantage over everyone else due to the absolute control of this spectrum.

    I also don't like the fact that Verizon uses CDMA since CDMA is not quite as open or as useful as GSM. In GSM devices, there's a SIM card. I can insert a company SIM card into any GSM device, and it's on there network. With CDMA, I have to bring my device to Verizon to setup. If Verizon claims my device isn't compatible with their network, I can't use that device.

    I was not happy with Verizon as a winner. Like AT&T, they have monopolistic tendencies and use their built in land line base advantage to squeeze competitors. What could have been a world with dozens of carriers is quickly turning into a AT&T/Verizon duopoly.
  • by keirre23hu ( 638913 ) <j2k4real&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @09:20AM (#23311050) Homepage
    If you notice, the duopoly/monopoly is coming back in a big way. Besides Cellular service, look at Airline consolidation, and across other industries. Small competitors are disappearing in just about every industry.

    I guess right now we are in a "business-friendly" period, which tends to translate to the customer getting screwed, paying more for less, which should actually be Verizon's motto.
  • Re:Round 1..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @10:16AM (#23311628) Journal

    Tough Shit Google.

    'Tough Shit' Google? Try 'Tough Shit American Consumer' because that's who really gets burned if the carriers can keep their walled garden model.

    I don't really give two shits about Google but I'd like to be able to buy my own (non carrier branded) phone and do whatever I want with it. You can't do this in CDMA land. Hell, even the GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) less informed employees will try to tell you that you can't use a non-branded phone.

    I even had a T-Mobile employee try to tell me that I couldn't buy a prepaid phone to use with my postpaid service even though it was the exact same model phone as the one they were offering for postpaid customers (the prepaid was $30, postpaid was $100 without a contract). Needless to say I ignored them and bought the phone I wanted and it works just fine.

    If they get away with flaunting these requirements then we all lose. Hell, even the carriers will lose out in the end, because sooner or later there will be a backlash and they'll find themselves actually being regulated by the states and/or Feds. Then they'll wish they had done it all voluntarily when they had the chance.

  • by dohadeer ( 598581 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2008 @11:55AM (#23312928)
    "Google's filing has no legal standing." Whew, good thing the FCC is not a judicial body, but rather a legislature-appointed commission with loosely-defined and self-expanded powers of regulation over said wavelengths. If Google had filed in a court, I'd say there was no legal standing, since Google did not incur any damages and only a party who has been damaged can seek recourse in a court of equity. However, since the FCC is a regulatory agency, I'm pretty sure any citizen (or corporation) can lodge a complaint. Case in point, no one had to deal with anything "legal" related when George Carlin's "words you can't say on radio" was adopted as the official list of words you're not allowed to say after normal, average citizens complained to the FCC about hearing a rebroadcast of the routine on the radio. No one had "legal standing" after the famous Superbowl "wardrobe malfunction", but the FCC still acted on the complaints it received and levied some of the largest fines in broadcasting history. Verizon is not going to be able to run counter to the FCC's will without a protracted legal battle which would need to, at its heart, question the boundaries of the FCC's regulatory power.... Actually, that may not be such a bad thing.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham