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Verizon Sues FCC over 700MHz Open Access Rules 115

Carterfone writes "Verizon is upset at the open access conditions for the 700MHz spectrum auction, and they're going to court to get them overturned. The company has filed a lawsuit in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, urging the court to overturn the rules. 'In its petition for review, Verizon argues that the FCC exceeded its authority in mandating the two open access conditions, accusing the Commission of being "arbitrary" and "capricious," and saying that the rules are "unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law." Google is critical of Verizon's lawsuit: 'It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services. Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics.'"
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Verizon Sues FCC over 700MHz Open Access Rules

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  • Verizon. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:18PM (#20595953)
    You mean we don't have to use devices restricted to Verizon's crippleware?

    > Under the FCC's rules, whoever wins the spectrum auction must allow consumers to use any device and any lawful application on their networks.

    No wonder they're pissed.

    Verizon: We never stop working... for ourselves.

  • no suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:20PM (#20595991) Homepage
    Verizon has always been about lock in and keeping away choice. That is why they never wanted to go with a sim card based cellphone system. it eliminates your ability to buy a unlocked phone and activating it without them getting their "fees" in their sideways.

    Verizon wants you to do it their way, and really wants to force it upon you. when they bought GTE they tried to treat landline customers the way they treated cellular customers, they got nailed hard in court over that one.
  • Wahhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RevHawk ( 855772 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:26PM (#20596053)
    Hey Verizon? Too bad. You don't own anything. The airwaves are OURS, no matter what our corrupt FCC/DOJ want to lead you to believe.
  • Running Scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aldheorte ( 162967 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:35PM (#20596163)
    This shows you how scared the carriers are about these rules and Google getting hold of the bands.

    Verizon's move vacates its primary contention. The open access rules are going to make the bidding intense because those who want to keep the other two open access rules off the table are going to being bidding heavily. Moreover, it is quite likely that Verizon and others will, if the two existing open access rules stick, attempt to buy up the bands and then simply not build or activate the infrastructure, thereby trapping consumers into the other bands where they are not subject to these rules.

    Point being, this is sleight of hand. Their real move is going to be trying to buy the bands and keep them dark. Therefore, the bands are worth more with these rules in place than without and Verizon's contention that the FCC is disenfranchising the government of revenue by adding these rules is void.
  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:47PM (#20596295)
    Write down your complaints into a letter to give to Verizon when you do terminate. Like what they are doing now or not, you did sign up with them for a contract.

    If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the same boat until March. I do plan to terminate my service with them primarily on their constrictive practices. What I find particularly distasteful is that they push legislation that practically makes it a legal requirement to bleed their customers with fees. Fees that seem to inevitably return to Verizon's pockets.
  • by lb746 ( 721699 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:48PM (#20596317)
    Try and find a place where your phone is roaming in another network, but covered by your "nation wide roaming plan". Generally your phone will show something like "Cingular network" on the phone. Make a phone call from that area during your "free nights and weekends minutes", and just leave that phone on as long as you can in that area. I actually went as far as to put my phone into a ziplock bag on vibrate and hid it in some bushes so it could sit there until the battery died. I could go daily to pick it up before work and drop it back off after work. Within 2 weeks my contract was canceled by Verizon without any termination charges.
  • Re:Running Scared (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gravos ( 912628 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:57PM (#20596431) Homepage
    I don't think you guys are giving the parent enough credit. Verizon may follow the letter of the agreement, but they certainly wouldn't follow the spirit.
  • Re:Running Scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @06:58PM (#20596445)
    If you read the development rules, they are required to do several billion dollars worth of Public Safety and emergency band build out over the next 10 years.

    If you would have read those very same rules a bit more closely, you would realize that the Public Safety bands and the Commercial bands are two different bands being auctioned off independently. The "C" block auction is the one that has these two rules attached that Verizon is trying to get thrown out. for more info.
  • Re:Running Scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:03PM (#20596493)
    "The 22MHz C block also comes with requirements: 40 percent coverage within four years, 75 percent coverage within 10. The FCC will automatically reclaimed "unserved portions of the license area" from companies that do not meet the build-out requirements."

    What they didn't say is This spectrum should be available to the public under fair and decent pricing or anything of the like; they only added the two "Google Caveats". The phone companies could build up the entire infrastructure on top of existing infrastructure, even use it internally to shuffle data around, and only offer public access at any exorbitant price they choose to offer. These companies have made it an art form of prying spectrum away from the government, there's absolutely no reason to think things will change unless we impose changes on them.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:08PM (#20596559)
    I for one am very curious as to what Google plans on doing with that part of the spectrum. It is almost a sure thing that they'd unveil some sort of network, but I'm curious as to how they plan on actually using it.

    Probably ad supported, but seems like we're getting closer and closer all the time to a Google antitrust investigation, the way that MS was investigated. To some extent it surprises me that Google was allowed to purchase double click. Should Google purchase that part of the spectrum and fund it with its own ads without relevant bidding from other companies, that might very well be the straw that breaks the camels back.

    Not that I hate Google, but they are getting awfully close to the basic position that MS was in prior to the start of their own antitrust problems.

    That's definitely not to say that I wouldn't use their network. I would have to see how well it worked and the specifics about how the agreement went and how reliable it is, but a network in that part of the spectrum would likely be very useful.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:08PM (#20596563)

    Under the FCC's rules, whoever wins the spectrum auction must allow consumers to use any device and any lawful application on their networks. After the FCC's decision, Verizon quickly made its position clear. "Imposing any such requirements in the competitive wireless market would reduce the revenue the government will receive from the spectrum auction and limit the introduction of new and innovative wireless services,"

    Total B.S.! If I can use any device, then I can use the most innovative devices from anyone building them. If Version provides the most new and innovative wireless services at a fair price, they get my business. If someone else does, my business goes there. In short, Version contradicts themselves in the very same sentence.

    As for reducing the revenue the government will receive from the spectrum auction, like how does that happen? Is Verizon going to pay a bazillion dollars for the spectrum if you have to buy only their devices and services afterwards, and that no one will buy a single Hz of it otherwise? I doubt that!

    It's all such total B.S. from Verizon that nobody should be taking them seriously for a single instant -- and throw those blighters out of court!

  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:13PM (#20596625) Homepage Journal
    This situation presents a case study: will American courts protect the public interest, or will they sell us out to corporate interests again?

    If any of you ever felt like you might want to write some letters or make some phone calls, this would be a good time. Keep in mind that Verizon won't be hurt in any way if they don't get this frequency band. It's you and I that'll get hurt if they do...

  • Re:Running Scared (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @08:33PM (#20597537)

    They can't do that. The auction already has a build-up clause ... I believe if they fail to do so, they lose their ownership of the band, or at least heavy penalties until they build it out.

    Yeah, as if that's going to deter the telcos from not breaking the agreement, just like they didn't build out the internet infrastructure the way they promised after getting a pile of tax breaks and other "incentives" from the government. What was the smackdown they got for that? Nothing? Yeah, that's what I thought.

    You guys don't get it, do you? Big monopoly-sized business owns the government these days. The days where your "representatives" actually represented you are long, long gone. Government-imposed "rules" mean nothing to these guys. They're just another soundbite to quell the masses. The big businesses know this. The government knows this. Only the clueless masses don't.

    Welcome to the new, kinder, gentler fascism. Enjoy your stay.

  • by cozytom ( 1102207 ) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @10:29PM (#20598479)
    The future is coming fast, and the sold spectrum is a problem.

    Imagine the day you are carrying a little device in your pocket. This device is an all in one thing. It has a software defined radio in it, a reasonable sized display (3in diagonal maybe, 800x600 pixels?), some kind of keyboard, a microphone and a speaker. You can make phone calls, instant message, and almost any other form of communication. The infrastucture is WiFi, WiMax, CDMA, GSM, 3/4G, point to point, HDTV, AM, FM, XM, Sirius, GPS, pager, bluetooth and zigbee on whatever frequency is appropriate (remember software defined radio, it can do all of this in software).

    You pick up the device, it has an address. You wish to communicate with someone else, they have an address. The device knows them, and their address. Through the infrastructure, Your device can find their device, picking the most suitable communication mechanism available. If they are in the same room, it'll do point to point, if they are in the same building, it'll do WiFi. Across town, maybe your device will do CDMA, and theirs will do GSM. Want to send email to someone, it'll figure out a route.

    The only way this will work, is opening up everything. The spectrum, especially will have to be unencumbered (not owned). The carriers will have to act like carriers, accepting these all purpose devices, without a monopoly.

    Sure verizon and ATT will scream, it isn't good for anyone. But actually it will work in their and our best interest. Their infrastructure could be more efficiently used (won't have to handle calls to the guy in the next cube). Sure we may have to pay what it costs to utilize their network instead of a flat fee, with silly gimicks. Initial purchase price will a little high (device not bundled with the service). They won't have to service the devices, or they could, if they build their own.

    To get here, the spectrum that has already been sold will have to be returned to the rightful owners (us), and that will be expensive!!! The government could claim eminant domain, but that would probably be even less popular, and the lawsuits would probably cost even more money. We need to stop selling spectrum NOW!

  • Re:Running Scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumling ( 94709 ) on Friday September 14, 2007 @12:10AM (#20599213) Homepage
    Except that the day they win the auction, they start lobbying congress for extensions, due to "technical issues" that are making it harder to roll out service. And that open access thing? Well, that's much harder than we thought too. Gonna take more time, like, about another 8 years. Yea, just long enough for a new FCC chairman to be appointed by a new President, one who will forget all about this silly open access/90% roll-out clause.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.