Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin reportedly said at the CTIA conference today he is circulating an order denying the petition filed by Skype to allow for any equipment to be connected to the wireless network, provided the device does not harm the network. The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We are disappointed with Chairman Martin's reported plans to turn down Skype's petition, as should the more than 256.7 million people who now subscribe to cellular service. The plans announced by one cellular company to be more open to devices and applications are just that – plans. There are many details yet to be worked out, and consumers may not see the benefits of a fully opened equipment and application wireless service. Whatever benefits do come about may not be known for some time.
“There are no subscribers today in the 700 MHz spectrum block. Any benefits to subscribers in that one small slice of spectrum, to which some open access rules will apply, won't be known for many years.
“There are many cellular companies doing business, and not all them subscribe even to the notion of opening their networks to innovative devices and services that the companies don't provide. It has now been 40 years since landline phones were freed by the FCC from Ma Bell's clutches. It is long past time for the wireless progeny to bring themselves into the 21st century and to give consumers the same choice in equipment and innovation.”
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