July 31, 2007

open access update...

while the actual text has yet to be published, the fcc today approved rules for next year's 700 mhz spectrum auction, rules which are intended to ensure more consumer choice in terms of devices, services and content.

yes, this is a step in the right direction. indeed, it's nice to see that the fcc recognizes that american consumers not only demand but actually deserve choice. good stuff. but, as commented in the july 12 post below, this rulemaking for an auction for spectrum that won't be available and/or built-out with networks until perhaps 2010 by no means fully addresses u.s. wireless network neutrality challenges, nor will it necessarilly impact in any meaningful, near-term way the largely closed, operator-dominated nature of the u.s. wireless market. but, well, yeah, it is indeed a step in the right direction.

sadly, the rulemaking is being rather remarkably misunderstood to mean things that it just simply doesn't. for example, contrary to popular media reports, the rules will not in fact "allow customers to use whatever phone and software they want" on the network. while, again, the detailed rules are not yet published, the less popular (but perhaps more fact-based) understanding is that the rules might require - in addition to prohibiting the operator from blocking or slowing competitive wireless and Web content - open and competitive access for devices built to network specifications, but not magic wireless networks that can receive and transmit signals from devices regardless of what radio standard they might employ.

and yet, even some of those purportedly in-the-know seem to fundamentally misunderstand what they're promoting - to wit, per online reports, in the wake of today's fcc announcement on the rules, the president of public knowledge said: "in the new wireless services created as a result of this decision, they (consumers) won’t be forced to abandon cell phones or other devices they have purchased when they change service providers." um... this is simply not the case - rather, it's a maybe/maybe not (more likely the latter) situation, all dependant on the radio network standard deployed by the operator and the radio network standard built into the device used by the consumer changing service providers. this, if you haven't gathered, is not a trivial misunderstanding...

stay tuned - this'll only get more complicated before it gets less so...

July 18, 2007

luke proves size doesn't matter

amazing performance from luke at recent swim meet. all heart and (very lean) muscle.

thanks to alex for the photos.

July 12, 2007

quick & dirty on wireless "open access"

so, let's see, earlier this week usatoday ran a piece teasing that the fcc is considering new rules for the upcoming 700mhz spectrum auction that would require as much as a third of the spectrum to be dedicated to a "truly open broadband network." the idea would be that consumers would be able to attach the mobile device(s) of their choice to consume the services, applications, content, etc. of their choice. sounds great (god only knows i've raved about this topic more than once over the history of this blog), right?

yeah, well, maybe. or not. would carving out a little chunk of spectrum in a band that has no global counterpart (and as such no network or handset manufacturing scalability) really address the fact that the u.s. mobile market remains perhaps the most carrier-dominated on the planet? um, probably not. indeed, a cynic might wonder of this whole thing is just a political sop, a network neutrality fig leaf to avoid addressing the truly fundamental challenges of competition and consumer choice in american wireless.

more to follow on this developing story...

July 06, 2007

lazy summer friday...

...at the pool. less than a month to beach week. counting days.

from the mobile