Martin Access Call Draws Flak

Free Press, Commissioner Michael Copps, Open Internet Coalition Express Disappointment

There was a chorus of disappointed responses from some open-access backers to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin's desire not to apply Carterfone-style access mandates on wireless carriers.

"The chairman's decision to oppose this important petition is a missed opportunity to usher in a new era of innovation," said S. Derek Turner, research director for Free Press. "If open devices and applications are good for consumers in the networks to be built on the newly auctioned spectrum, why not for all mobile networks?"

Martin's colleague, FCC commissioner Michael Copps, shared that concern. "This is not the time for the FCC to declare victory and withdraw from the fight for open wireless networks," he said in a statement. "While we are all encouraged by preliminary commitments from some of the major carriers, we haven’t seen the details yet on how they are going to proceed -- and the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? I would be a lot happier if chairman Martin had come out today in favor of a strong and unequivocal FCC commitment to nondiscriminatory, pro-consumer conduct in the wireless world."

Markham Erickson of the Open Internet Coalition added, "It would be a serious mistake for the FCC to dismiss Skype's petition before we've seen whether the telcos will follow through on their promises."