Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep the wireless spectrum open, please

If you keep tabs on technology, you've probably noticed the FCC has put up several “blocks” of the wireless spectrum up for sale. The most valuable of these, the “C” block, has reached almost $3 billion in an open auction.

The important thing about the “C” block is that currently the rules stipulate that whoever purchases the block must make it open to whoever wants to use it. However, if the selling price does not hit $4.6 billion, the government will re-auction the spectrum and remove the stipulation about open access.

That simply cannot happen. The opening of the wireless spectrum is a huge step towards open networks and open networks mean more people can jump in and force evolution in the current technology. Look at the computer industry. Since the time of the introduction of the IBM-compatible PC, competition has driven costs down and quality and computing power up. Just think what an open spectrum might do for cell phones.

Hopefully Google or some other wireless giant steps up and buys the open spectrum. It would be a great loss if it were to be closed.

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