News of C Block Meeting Minimum Bid Praised
Federal Communications Commission, Public Interest Spectrum Coalition, Consumers Union, Free Press, Media Access Project Enthusiastic About News
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/31/2008 12:36:00 PM
The applause was growing inside and outside the Federal Communications Commission late Thursday for the news that the commission's C block of spectrum -- enough for a new nationwide wireless service -- had met its minimum bid.
Had the $4.6 billion floor price not been met, the spectrum would have been rebid without open-access conditions that required the winner to open the network to outside applications and devices.
"Now, everyone should be able to see that open access is an idea whose time has truly come," Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said. "Imagine being able to use any mobile device or application that you want, to reach any legal content that you want, so long as you don’t harm the network. That’s a tremendous improvement over being restricted to a particular bundle of device, application and content chosen for you by your wireless company."
In an e-mailed statement, the group said: "The winner of the auction will be required to offer consumers more options for devices and more choice among wireless applications than wireless companies do now. We hope the freedom that will develop as the new spectrum opens up will carry over into the existing cellular network."
Free Press also weighed in independently. "Today marks a key moment in the future of an open Internet," policy director Ben Scott said. "Detractors who vociferously objected last year to new FCC policies that give consumers more choice and freedom have been proven dead wrong. We have at least one company [the bidding is anonymous] willing to bet billions on an open network."
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